West Africa's container trade is experiencing significant growth. Carriers are introducing enhancements to the West Africa Express (WAX) service, which includes stops in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, and Congo and connects West Africa with China, Southeast Asia, and India. The weekly service involves 13,000 to 15,000 TEU range vessels, with a total of 13 large containerships maintaining the service.
The Maersk Edirne, a 12-year-old vessel registered in Singapore with a 13,000 TEU capacity, became the first vessel on the expanded service and the largest containership to dock in Nigeria.
Nigerian officials note this landmark event as the Lekki port approaches its first commercial operations anniversary. The CMA CGM Group-managed and operated Freeport Terminal is a multi-user facility described as a "game-changing infrastructure for Nigeria and West Africa." The port, which launched its first phase in February 2023 with a 1.2 million TEU capacity and five ship-to-shore cranes, will eventually feature over 3,900 feet of berth with a depth of over 52 feet and a 2.5 million TEU capacity. CMA CGM emphasizes the port's role as a mega transshipment hub, particularly for Nigeria's neighboring Gulf of Guinea countries, including Togo and Benin.