BY ONOME AMUGE
The acquisition of a vessel by Nigeria’s BUA Foods, one of Africa’s leading fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, the first of two it has planned, is expected to raise the company’s sugar export operations in West Africa and boost the country’s capacity to earn foreign exchange, it has emerged.
The company’s export drive commenced earlier this year and it has its eyes set on the West African market in the export push.
According to the leading consumer goods firm by market value, the Mitsubishi of Japan built vessel named “MV Bundu”, which was built in 2003, has a cargo capacity suited to enhance quick and sustainable delivery of more refined sugar in the face of growing export demand from across the African region.
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The vessel, set to depart and berth at BUA’s port and terminal, is expected to increase BUA’s export capacity, particularly sugar, reduce operating cost, provide alternative sources of income, while significantly diversifying the company’s markets.
The refined sugar of high-grade quality is processed from BUA Foods’ ultra-modern sugar refinery located in Port Harcourt, equipped with a capacity of 750,000 metric tonnes, and designed to process all grades of sugar, augment its export of refined sugar and ultimately benefit the country in terms of revenue contribution to the economy.
Speaking on the development, Abdul Samad Rabiu, chairman BUA Foods Plc, said owning a shipping vessel is an important step in the company’s food production strategy as it drives its business for growth with focus on sustainable returns, benefit to all its stakeholders and the Nigerian economy.
The new vessels, he explained, will create operational efficiencies in BUA’s business and open possibilities for new services.
“We see an increased and continued demand for refined sugar across the region with attendant increase for logistics support to aid timely delivery, which is why it is important for us to strengthen our current capability with an own-controlled asset as we advance further in our business strategy,” Rabiu stated.
With these acquisitions, BUA Foods said it is well positioned to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), considering its investments in the food sector over the years.
Ayodele Abioye, managing director, BUA Foods, in his remark, emphasised that owning a vessel to export sugar is a crucial enabler of flexibility and agility in the company’s total supply chain as it allows its customers to tackle time-critical fulfilment challenges due to timely availability of goods.
“As we expand our customer base into the region, we strongly believe in working closely with them towards meeting and surpassing their needs in time and in full,” Abioye added.
To further strengthen its export drive, the company stated that a second shipping vessel is expected to arrive by the end of the second quarter of 2022 to promote cross border trade to businesses across the West African region and other African countries.