By Lewis S Teh
M/V OKEE CUNO, a vessel with a capacity of 13,892 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), successfully berthed at the Port of Monrovia early Thursday, June 1, 2023, to help boost the country’s economy.
The successful berthing of this massive vessel at the port, which was brought into the country by OBT Shipping Line Liberia in collaboration with Hapag Lloyd, is a testament to the port’s capabilities and infrastructure.
M/V OKEE CUNO further received a boost yesterday ahead of its commissioning as one of the largest container vessels, owned and operated by a German shipping firm, Hapag Lloyd.
Reports indicate that M/V OKEE CUNO (IMO: 9406960) is a container ship registered and sailing under the flag of Liberia with a gross tonnage of 18485, and deadweight 23710.
Its successful berthing here is a significant milestone for Liberia’s economy and demonstrates that the country is ready for business.
It also signals the potential for increased trade and commerce in Liberia, as larger vessels can now dock at the Freeport. With the ability to handle larger container ships, the Port of Monrovia can attract more shipping lines and increase its competitiveness in the region.
This will not only benefit local businesses but also create job opportunities for Liberians. Furthermore, the increased cargo volume will generate revenue for the government through taxes and fees.
Speaking to reporters at the company head office following a tour of the vessel on its maiden voyage here, OBT Agency Manager, Mauro Geno, described the berthing of the OKEE CUNO at the APM Terminal as a great achievement.
Geno further said that the arrival of the vessel will revolutionize the way goods are transported and traded in the country by improving efficiency and connectivity as well as serving as a major driver for economic growth in the region.
“We are proud to bring this big vessel into the country to provide business opportunity as well as job creation to the market and to the country.” He said.
Geno explains that the origin of the vessel is actually Germany, but it is one of the first five shipping lines in the world that provides the best shipping opportunity for business entrepreneurs.
Also speaking, the head of commerce at APM Terminals, Thomas A. Moore, said the successful berthing of the ship will bring significant economic benefits to Liberia.
He said besides the economies of scale that the large vessel brings, it will also boost Liberia’s export drive as it will depart the shores of the country with export commodities meant for the international market.
Moore assured all shipping companies, importers, and exporters doing business at the port of prompt, efficient, and professional service at all times. He added that the successful berthing of the ship will translate to more revenue for the Government of Liberia.
For his part, the shipping manager at OBT, Philip Kjor, commended officials of the APM Terminal for working together with the ship crew, the terminal operator, and other relevant stakeholders to successfully berth at the port.
Kjor said that it is challenging in doing shipping business in Liberia, especially looking at the timeline with customers, but expressed satisfaction the country is peaceful and he is still in a learning curve with his local employees. Editing by Jonathan Browne