The operator of Nigeria’s largest container terminal APM Terminals is expanding operations to deal with a sharp increase in cargo traffic since the government closed the county border with Benin Republic.

President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a partial closure of Nigeria’s land borders with its neighbors in August 2019 to curb the smuggling of rice and later restricted the trade of all goods in an effort to boost local production.

About 80% of all imports into the port of Cotonou, Benin’s Republic commercial capital, were destined for Nigeria, according to the World Bank report.

Ever since then, the volume of cargo cleared at the two commercial Lagos ports has increased significantly, with imports surging 50% in October compared to the previous year.

APM Terminals is spending $80 million to double the number of cranes at Apapa and expand capacity, according to Boo Arias a spokeswoman for APM. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which granted the company its concession in 2006, has complained about the inadequacy of its cargo handling equipment and the resulting delays, according to ThisDay newspaper.