By Godwin Oritse
The leadership of the West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria (WACT), yesterday commended the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for installing a new scanning machine at the Onne Port Complex.
Giving this commendation in Onne, Rivers State, Managing Director of WACT, Naved Zafar said that the new scanning machine will facilitate trade, ensure security and drastically reduce the importation of illicit goods by unscrupulous persons Ali said the scanner.
Zafar also said the scanner will aid manifest verification, Customs tariff collection and the identification of contraband.
According to Zafar, WACT, which is the largest container terminal operator in the eastern ports, will offer necessary support to NCS to optimize the benefits of the scanning machine.
“We are delighted with the commissioning of this scanner. I believe it has the potential of making a lot of difference by facilitating faster and easier delivery of cargo. We have long prepared for this. As part of our Terminal Upgrade and Expansion project, we have acquired sufficient cargo handling equipment at our terminal to improve the efficiency of the port and the new scanning machine will compliment our effort in this regard,” Zafar said.
On the on-going upgrade of WACT, he said, “The terminal upgrade is on course. Recall that in 2020, we announced a fresh investment of USD100 million for our Phase Two upgrade. The Phase Two upgrade includes the acquisition of three additional Mobile Harbour Cranes, bringing the total in operation to five; 20 Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes; three Reach Stackers; 13 terminal trucks and trailers and an empty container handler. It also includes the deployment of reefer racks with a 600-plug capacity, as well as expansion of the current yard, new workshop and a new terminal gate complex.
“We have acquired and deployed the new Mobile Harbour Cranes and Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes. We have also installed the new reefer rack and the yard expansion work is on course. We will complete the upgrade by the middle of this year,” he said.
WACT started commercial operation in 2001. It is the first Greenfield container terminal in Nigeria to be built under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. The terminal is located within the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne Port, Rivers State. Over the years, it has grown to become the most efficient gateway to markets outside the Lagos area.
Recall that the new scanning machines were acquired by the Federal Government in September 2021 and commissioned last Thursday by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd).