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Why importers prefer Onne to Port Harcourt port – Study

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By Godwin Oritse

MEASRKLINE, a world-class shipping firm, has given reasons why importers prefer to consign their cargoes to Onne port instead of the Port Harcourt port both in Rivers State in Southern Nigeria.

Onne port

The highlights of the study conducted by the shipping giant gave a few key parameters from a shipping lines point of view why importers would rather patronize Onne which, perhaps is more expensive for the importers than Port Harcourt port.

According to the study made available to  Vanguard Maritime Report      Onne is about 26 kilometres outside of Port Harcourt while Port Harcourt port in right inside the city, a development that impeded the cargo delivery process.

Surprisingly, it was also noted in the study that while the port in Port Harcourt is about 64kilometer to main Eastern market in Aba, Onne port is 69km to the Aba main market.


According to the study, Onne Port Complex is known to have heavy security presence with regular naval gunboat patrol within the surrounding waters while Port Harcourt is close to the creek were agents of social vices hibernate to cause insecurity as the Port Security level cannot be ascertained at the moment.

Stevedoring Operations

AP Moller Terminal, a private entity with global reach and reputation is handling Onne while Port and Terminal Operators Limited, PTOL, a private and indigenous entity with an unknown reputation handle Port Harcourt port.


In the report, while  The draft level at Onne port is 10.7meter, which can accommodate vessels with a capacity of 4,500 Twenty Equivalent Units, TEUs, compare to 8.2meter draft in Port Harcourt port which has restricted its capacity to 2,000 TEUs.

This is in addition to a total of five shipping companies operating in Onne port as against only Mediterranean Shipping Company, MSC, in Port Harcourt.

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For storage, Onne port has a capacity to store 250,000 metric tonnes of cargo while Port Harcourt has the capacity for only 60,000 metric tonnes, the study noted.

Vessel Calls

For vessel calls to Onne port, the study said that there are direct ship sails from the Far East, Europe and other parts of the world, unlike Port Harcourt which only get feeder vessel calls from Lome in Togo and Cotonou in the Benin Republic.

Other issues

The study explained that Onne port has its own Customs command, with fast clearance procedures and processes just as the offices and terminal operators and shipping companies and other stakeholders are situated in one location in Onne port.

Port Harcourt port has its Customs command, but offices of government agencies and other stakeholders are scattered around the port and this does not give room for efficiency and fast track.

In the status of both ports, the study noted that while West African Container Terminal, WACT, located within the Onne Port Complex has been fully developed and operational for over ten years with state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment which include Reach Stackers, Forklifts and empty containers handler.

But the PTOL in the old Port Harcourt port Complex has remained undeveloped to handle container shipments, the port is more specialized in bulk and tanker vessels.

Commenting on the development, Fredrik Hagberg, Maersk Shipping Trade Manager for Africa and Oceania, said that the firm does not really care about the port but is concerned about the efficiency of the port facilities.

“As long as we have enough facilities to discharge our containers we are fine,” Hagberg said.

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