By Godwin Oritse
THE management of the Nigeria s biggest container terminal operator, A. P Moller Terminal Apapa, yesterday commissioned two new multimillion dollars state-of-the-art Mobile Harbor Cranes MHCs, valued N33.6billion, (about $80million), to boost its service delivery at the Apapa Port, Lagos.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, said that, that is the highest by any private terminal operator in Nigeria.
The value of this current investment brings A.P. Moller total investment by the company in Apapa since 2006 to N184billion (about$438million).
APM Terminals, which is located in the nation’s premiere seaport at the heart of Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, is the biggest container terminal in West Africa and the best-equipped port terminal in Nigeria.
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Bala Usman also said that cargo volumes at the port have witnessed a steady rise due to favourable government policies. Adding that the ports were concessioned by the federal government to improve port efficiency and free government resources for other developmental purposes.
The NPA boss explained that the agency has continued to engage with private terminal operators at the port to rise up to the challenge of the increased cargo traffic.
She said NPA’s engagement with the operators is yielding tangible results as evidenced by the commissioning of the two new Mobile Harbor Cranes, among others. She said as the ports become more efficient, efforts must be made to enhance cargo delivery process and free the ports of longstanding cargo.
“We are engaging with the Nigeria Customs Service to remove overtime containers from the port to free vital space for incoming cargo. We are also working with terminal operators to increase the barging of containers to take pressure off the roads. We have noted a significant growth in barging capacity and operations with more containers moved daily by barges from the port,”she said.
Speaking in similar vein , the Head of Terminals, Africa and Middle East region of APM Terminals, Mr. David Skov, said before now, the company had invested $358million (N150.36 billion) in port infrastructure development, information technology upgrades and modern cargo handling equipment to improve both quayside and landside operations.
According to him, “The additional investment we are making is to handle the increased trade volumes into Nigeria. Trade in Nigeria is growing due to the many favorable efforts and policies of the Federal government of Nigeria including but not limited to the policy on ease of doing business; stabilization of foreign exchange; closure of the land borders which has increased the use of our sea ports; and diversification of the economy.
“The additional investments will create capacity to handle the growth in the economy to support the Federal government’s efforts on trade growth and improve service delivery across the logistic chain in Nigeria.”
He said with the acquisition of the new cranes, the terminal now operates with a total of 10 Mobile Harbour Cranes; 23 Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes; six Empty Handlers; 48 specialized Truck Terminals, six Reach Stackers and 11 Forklifts.
APM Terminals Apapa took over operation of the Apapa container terminal in 2006 under the Federal Government’s port reform programme.
Before now, the company had invested heavily on infrastructure, container handling equipment, yard expansion, modernization of the terminals’ IT hardware and software systems, and development of additional capacity.
The huge investment has resulted in significant improvements in productivity, reduction in vessel waiting time and a doubling of container volumes at the port.