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Box volume growth at Monrovia signals Liberian economic recovery

Box volume growth at Monrovia signals Liberian economic recovery
A 30% year-on-year increase in import container traffic at Liberia’s largest port during H1 2015 suggests Liberia’s economy is on the mend after last year’s Ebola virus crisis.

That was the view of Joseph N. Boakai, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, addressing a US-Liberia Trade & Investment Forum in New York.

The message was reinforced by George Adjei, md of APM Terminals Liberia, operator of Free Port of Monrovia, which handles more than 90% of the country’s foreign trade.

“Container throughput at Monrovia will exceed 100,000 teu for the first time by the end of this year, and that is a very healthy sign for Liberia” said Adjei. By comparison the port handled 79,000 teu in 2014.

The Ebola virus claimed over 11,000 lives in West Africa, including around 5,000 in Liberia, causing that’s country’s GDP growth rate to fall from 8% in 2013 to under 1% in 2014, but now the negative trend has been reversed and GDP is expand by 0.9% this year.

APM Terminals Liberia has therefore embarked on the second phase of a $120m investment in the upgrade and modernization of Monrovia Free Port since winning a 25-year operating concession in 2010. A $50m reconstruction of the 600-metre quay wall was completed earlier this year, and the company is now to spend a further $34.5m improving the landside aspects of the facility, with a view to doubling the port’s annual capacity to 200,000 teu by 2017.

“Liberia’s recovery is a fact, and we are ready” said Adjei.