A United States international shipping company, American President Lines (APL), has announced plans to resume operations next week through Sudan’s costal port of Port Sudan after a 20 year break, local newspapers reported yesterday.
The announcement was welcomed by the Chairman of the Board and General Manager of Container Management Agency (CMA) who described the development as a “qualitative” leap in the fortunes of Sudan’s shipping industry. Al Hadi Mahmoud Abdul Qaadir confirmed that the resumption of services followed a visit by the US representative of the company on 20 March to examine infrastructure at the port, handling equipment and storage yards for the containers.
APL provides shipping and global transportation services and is expected to begin operation in the first week in May from its Singapore port. It follows the temporary lifting of international sanctions against Sudan which is expected to be ratified by the US administration in June this year.
Abdul Qaadir, GM of CMA, also confirmed that the lifting of sanction would now lead to an increase in maritime traffic through the Red Sea of up to 500 containers per week
Analysts say Sudan’s location will mean that goods heading for Europe will now have an easier passage and supplies intended for the Gulf area will be off-loaded and transferred from Port Sudan. Sudan’s domestic economy is also set to benefit from the shipments which analyst say will help provide openings for direct foreign investment.
In addition to the expected benefits to the oil industry, the new shipping contract is also expected to assist Sudanese exports of cotton, sesame, gum Arabic and sugar. Sudan is the world’s largest producer of gum Arabic, a key ingredient in soft drinks and pharmaceutical products. The East African country is also one of the continent’s largest producers of sugar, facing a growing demand both in Sudan and on the Arabian Peninsula.