Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk has agreed to invest $600m in Nigeria’s port expansion and improvement project. 

The company’s chair, Robert Maersk Uggla, agreed to the investment in a meeting with Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu at the World Economic Forum Special Meeting in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, according to the President’s office.  

Tinubu said the investment will aid the government’s $1bn input to reconstruct Nigeria’s seaports. 

“We appreciate your business and the contribution you have made and continue to make to our country’s economy over time. We do not take our partners for granted. A bet on Nigeria is a winning bet,” the president said.

The redevelopment and expansion of several ports will allow docking for larger ships, meaning firms such as Maersk do not need to undertake risky trans-shipments to deliver to Nigeria.

“More investment opportunities are available, and my government has worked on various reforms to encourage investments. We need to encourage more opportunities for revenue expansion and minimize trans-shipments from larger ships to smaller ships,” Tinubu added.

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This is not the first investment by Maersk in Nigeria. It followed the development of a container terminal in Ogun. The new agreement will take Maersk’s investment in the West African nation to $2bn.

”We have seen a significant opportunity for Nigeria to cater for larger container ships. Historically, most of the West African coasts are already served by smaller ships. Currently, we see an opportunity to deploy larger ships to Nigeria. To achieve this, we need to expand the port infrastructure, especially in Lagos, where we need a bigger hub for logistics services,” Uggla explained. 

”In my humble view, given that Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria should have the best and biggest port and we are very eager to invest, and we will continue that dialogue with the relevant Nigerian authorities to explore further investment opportunities,” the Maersk Chairman said.

Nigeria’s population is more than 228 million according to United Nations statistics, and it is clear to see why Maersk thinks the nation has potential, as it also has one of the youngest populations around the world. The median age is just 17-years-old.