SSATP Working Paper 31

This paper discusses the containerized seaborne trade between West Africa and Europe. It gives an overview of current status of the maritime industry in the region, discusses ways in which less costly transportation chains can be achieved and, in particular, examines claims made on the benefit of a development of a hub-and-spoke system for the region. The maritime transportation industry serving West Africa has been late in adapting to the increasingly more efficient operations experienced in most other developing regions. The primary reasons for this are (a) inefficient port operations, (b) a lack of appropriate port infrastructure and land based distribution systems, (c) insistence on competition, (d) sheltering for national lines in the form of unorthodox interpretations of the provisions of the UNCTAD liner Code, and, (e) candidly, the relative lack of economic importance and peripheral geographical location of the region. The maritime industry serving West Africa has, nonetheless, shown signs of becoming more competitive in recent years, particularly as the concept of trade sharing has started to fade. One of the major changes in worldwide maritime trade came, when transport operators ceased viewing their markets as individual pockets of port-to-port operations, and started to view their operation on a sub-regional, regional, or even global level consisting of door-to-door services.

File Type: 
Date of Publication (Year): 
Dec 1997
Gylfi Palsson