….and about N200bn invest
By Godfrey Bivbere
Following the concessioning of port terminals by the Federal Government in 2006, the cargo handling capacity of the port has grown by 284.6 per cent.
This is even as they have invested over N200 billion in terminal expansions and acquisition of cargo handling equipment.
Information made available to Vanguard Maritime Report by the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, shows that the cargo handling capacity at the port which was about 6.5 million tons in 2006 when the port terminals were concessioned rose to about 25 million tons as at last year.
The port reform which led to the concessioning of the terminals saw the Federal Government still retaining ownership, policy-making, regulation and supervision of the ports, as well as liberalisation of trade, deregulation of the economy and enabling environment for robust private sector participation in the country.
The information signed by the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, stated that the exercise has also resulted in the reduction of budgetary allocation to the ports, increased revenue generation, increased volume of cargo handling and improved cost efficiency.
It also led to the restructuring of the maritime sector and deepening of the country’s capital market, the information added.
On the volume of cargo handling capacity, APM Terminals who are the operators of Apapa Container Terminal, said that the facility is the biggest container terminal in West Africa with an annual capacity of 1.2 million Twenty Equivalent Unit, TEU.
According to the Head of Corporate Communication of Maersk Group (parent company of APM Terminal), Austin Fischer, the terminal has invested about N120 billion ($350 million) for the development of the terminal and acquisition of cargo handling equipment in the last 10 years.
Fischer told Vanguard Maritime Report that one major area of investment is the yard space that was made bigger to create space for more consignments.
He explained that when they started at the beginning of the reforms, they do not have mobile cranes, Rubber Tyred Gantry Crane, RGTs but now they have the equipment.
He also disclosed that they have invested in a training centre where they have a simulator with which they train crane operators before they go to operate the mobile cranes for the discharge of consignments from the ships.
He also pointed out that the cargo throughput has increased from 200,000 in 2006 to 700,000 last year.
Josepdam Port Services Nigeria Limited, JPS, operators of terminal “A” at the Tin can Island port, on their part said they had started investing about N19.8 billion ($55 million) for the expansion of terminal infrastructure and acquisition of new cargo handling equipment in 2017.
Managing Director of JPS, Simon Travers, said then that the expansion when completed is expected to enable JPS grow its annual cargo throughput to over 3.5 million metric tons.
According to him, “We are putting up more finance to develop the terminal in five years. And we are ready to do about $55 million investment on our terminal.”
He said that they are in the process of getting extra land to convey their general cargo, noting that they intend to seek additional space between Kirikiri and Tin-can area of Lagos for that purpose.
He also pointed out that they are upgrading the terminal to a world class facility by importing all their machineries and infrastructure from Europe to improve their ship discharge capacity to 600 tons an hour.
Although efforts to get the actual amount of investment by Ports and Cargo Handling Services, operators of Terminal “C” at Tin-can Island port, was unsuccessful, Vanguard Maritime Report, gathered that the terminal has invested about $100 million in the terminal in the last ten years. Five Star Logistics Terminal told Vanguard Maritime Reportthat they cannot comment on the issue on phone while efforts to reach most of the other Terminal operators were unsuccessful.