Sierra Leone Involvement
Nectar Group’s involvement in Sierra Leone can be traced back to the late 1980’s where it pioneered Bulk/Bagging operations at Freetown under the USAID Title II programme. After returning to Sierra Leone in 2006, Nectar’s presence has evolved and developed further.
Since 2015, Nectar Group’s investment in Sierra Leone is focused around the Freetown Port. This port is located within the busy eastern end of the city. It serves as the major logistics hub for Sierra Leone’s imports and exports. As an essential component of the city’s economic prosperity, this port is invaluable for the local economy. However, the port’s potential extends beyond the local geography. It is one of the world’s deepest natural harbours and lies almost equidistant between Brazil and major northern European ports such as Rotterdam and Hamburg. This gives the port, and Sierra Leone, significant commercial advantages. However, the port’s potential has yet to be fully realised.
Nectar Sierra Leone Bulk Terminal (“NSBT”)
The NSBT is a Joint Venture Company (“JVC”) between Sierra Leone National Shipping Company and Nectar Group. The JVC won a tender issued by the government of Sierra Leone for a ten-year licence to run the bulk terminal at Queen Elizabeth II in 2015.
Since then, the group has invested over US$4.5 million in the implementation of new handling equipment, improved warehouses, and refurbishing infrastructure. As a result, working conditions and facilities and Health and Safety have all noticeably improved in the last 3 years. Nectar has also ensured that local employees account for over 96% of the staff headcount.
Major amelioration can also be observed in terms of Health and Safety, Security, Cargo integrity and Discharge performances.
The substantial investment, and the subsequent improvements into the terminal in terms of equipment, infrastructure and training, were recognised when NSBT were awarded the ‘Best Dry Bulk Port 2016’ at the IBJ awards. This was all achieved with the backdrop of the Ebola outbreak.
NSBT recognises that having a social impact is just as important as having an economic impact. As part of the community initiative, NSBT has donated fire engines to the Sierra Leone Ports Authority in 2017 along with uniforms and ancillary fire-fighting kit. The same year, NSBT also partnered with “Street Child Sierra Leone” to sponsor 25 homeless children in the Cline Town area of the city in order to get them off the streets and into long-term education. It does not stop there, NSBT also built 6 classrooms, the Headmaster’s office and Staff Room at the Muslim Brotherhood Primary School (Cline Town) in 2017.
In 2018, one of the community action plans was to refurbish classrooms at the Bishop Crowther Primary School. The other was its involvement in Freetown Cheshire Home (Cline Town) with the refurbishment of toilets and drainage systems as well as the long-term sponsorship of 11 young residents. Finally, it has provisioned for a Port Ambulance and clinic at its terminal to improve “first response” capability on its premises.
During the latter part of 2017, Nectar Group successfully converted its 10-year operation licence into a 21-year port concession. The company intends to build a US$25 million port extension providing a new deep-water berth and further storage facilities. Construction will commence by 2021. In the short term the company is investing further equipment for the terminal – approx. US$350,000 in new bulk handling equipment which is currently being built and was delivered to the port in early 2019 to improve clinker and cement handling. At time of writing there is an ongoing dredging exercise to accommodate bigger vessels. A new, larger-capacity forklift is also expected to be delivered in 2019 along with a patrol boat to improve seaside security to the terminal. An on-going training programme is also now in place for operators/mechanics. There is a plan for berth expansion by 2020.
ABOUT NECTAR GROUP
Nectar Group is an established bulk cargo handling solutions provider. The group is best known for its mobile bagging services which are found in many ports around the world, but has successfully expanded its services in recent years to include Terminal Management, Logistics, Port Equipment Maintenance and Professional Consultancy. Since its inception in 1972 the multi award-winning group has operated in 151 locations across 75 countries, handling in excess of 10 million tons annually making it a true leader in its particular area of expertise..