By Godwin Oritse
NIGERIA, in the last two months, imported a total of 986, 492 metric tons (mt) of petroleum products, representing 1,387,410,984.2 litres of fuel just as frozen fish tops import chart for the month of February 2019 with a total volume of 2.463million mt imported.
The figures contained in the shipping position of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, made available to Vanguard Maritime Report, also showed that more fuel was consumed in the month of January 2019 as a total of 705, 185 mt of fuel was imported compared to only 281,297 mt imported in February.
The shipping position of the NPA is a document that shows the volume and types of cargoes that are brought into the country on a daily basis.
It also shows the type of vessels involved in the affreightment of these goods just as it also indicates the port of discharge and the shipping agencies attached to these vessels.
According to the shipping position document, while 24, 266 mt of Aviation Turbine Kerosene, ATK, which is also known as Jet A1 of aviation fuel against 98,512 mt of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO otherwise known as diesel.
A breakdown of the figure also showed that while a total of 902,392 mt came through the Lagos ports, 84, 100 mt was brought into the country through Calabar port.
The shipping position also indicated that Premium Motor Spirit, PMS led other petroleum products.
Other imports topping the Chart include bulk sugar with 318,400 mt and wheat with total of 263, 552 mt in the last two months.
For general cargoes, a total of 126,119 mt were recorded for both months, while 118, 688 mt was recorded in February, 7,431 mt came into the country in January.
A further breakdown of the figure showed that frozen fish recorded 23,165 mt as against 15, 344 mt of containerized cargoes, while bulk salt import stood at 23 mt.
Reacting to the development, Chairman of the Port Consultative Council, PCC, Otunba Kunle Folarin said that the need for the use of imported fuel will continue to rise as long as the local refineries perform below expectation.
He explained that these refineries are more than 50 years old and cannot perform optimally.
He said “The refineries are epileptic, there refineries are more than 50 years old, you cannot expect them to optimal in their production and they are not producing 24 hours and seven days a week.
“For what we know, the need for the use of fuel is rising every day, do we have a public transport system that mass transit people, so every body has to put their vehicle on the road.
“The rail which could conveniently lift 400 people at a time is not in the corridor of the metropolis.
“If you look at the importation of used vehicles, it is also increasing, so the demand for the use of fuel will basically increase.”
On the issue of fish import Folarin said that the increase in fish import could be attributed to the fact that it is a cheaper source of protein for the masses.
Most of the beef products come from a particular part of the country and transporting these animals have brought about added cost that has impacted on the purchasing power of the people.
“Transport is almost 60 percent of the cost of goods and services in Nigeria” he stated.