7th January 2013 - SeaIntel Maritime Analysis launches information-sharing portal with status updates on Africa’s main container ports; innovative concept based on a simple Google Map of Africa illustrating the status of the continent's top 50 container ports at any one time, updated by local independent editors. SeaIntel Maritime Analysis announces the launch of a major new portal which will allow all parties involved in international trade to and from Africa to obtain information on the status of African ports.

The site www.portoverview.com has been launched earlier today following two months of live operation, collecting status reports on Africa’s 50 most important container terminals and related logistics infrastructure. “Africa really has made some significant steps forward in opening its doors to international trade in the past decade. We have seen an influx of international terminal operators, carriers, supply chain solution providers as well as a host of new entrepeneurs from all parts of the world. Africa has shown and continues to show immense potential” comments Lars Jensen, CEO of SeaIntel.

Jensen believes that the logistical challenges facing the Continent will remain significant over the coming years. Many ports face significant capacity challenges as well as the urgent need to improve hinterland connections to and from its emerging markets.

The portal has been designed to empower importers, exporters, traders and forwarders with information in order for them to take proactive decisions on how to move their cargo for their customers.

“We are not proclaiming to have every incident and positive development covered in every corner of Africa” comments Jensen, “but what we do have is neutral, factual information provided by independent sources, some of whom are logistics operators themselves.”

The recent SeaIntel Sunday Spotlight study on the two months of data collated on Port Overview clearly indicates that whilst a significant number of issues within the compounds of the container terminals have impacted cargo transits, over forty-one percent of incidents are either intermodal incidents, force majeure events or challenges posed by local governance or industrial relations.

The concept of the portal has been co-developed together with Appropriate Communications, an agency focusing on maritime and logistics PR in emerging markets.

Having covered maritime activities in African ports for over a decade, Managing Partner in Appropriate Communications, Victor Shieh, was directly exposed to the constant challenges facing shippers, carriers, ports and logistics operators in moving cargo from origin to destination. “The idea first sprang up by making a single slide a couple of years ago with a map of Africa showing everything that happened along the coast over a three week period” says Shieh.

“In this first week of January 2013 we have seen disruptions in the supply chain due to civil disturbances outside a terminal, heavy rainfall leaving a major hinterland connection broken, the reversal of a planned change in customs clearance procedures and a tropical cyclone carrying 120km per hour winds. Similarly we have seen a record improvement in productivity of one operator and a 185 million US dollar investment by a Chinese company in another.”

SeaIntel Maritime Analysis and Appropriate Communications firmly believe that information shared by local authorities, terminal operators, carriers and forwarders alike on this single portal will open the doors further to African trade.

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