The West Africa Container Terminal ( WACT) on Tuesday 6 October 2020 moved a step further towards realising its vision of becoming the gateway to East Nigeria and beyond, by commissioning two new state-of-the-art Mobile Harbor Cranes (MHCS) and two reach stackers to boost efficiency and cargo handling operation at Onne Port in Rivers State.
The equipment will further improve the already quick turnaround time for vessels calling WACT.
The two new cranes and handling equipment acquired by WACT are valued at $15 million. With the acquisition and commissioning of the new cranes, WACT now boasts of four MHCS deployed into its operations, with one more planned to arrive in 2021.
Speaking at the commissioning in Onne, Rivers State on Tuesday, Aamir Mirza, managing director of WACT, said the equipment were acquired as part of the terminal’s $100 million investment announced in 2019 to significantly increase the terminal capacity.
“Our equipment and infrastructure upgrade are the key enablers for WACT to better serve her customers. Our cranes will offer improved and higher productivity, which means shorter port stay of vessels, resulting in saving to our liner customers. We are now able to handle the next generation and larger gearless vessels,” he said.
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According to him, “This investment will include the deployment of reefer racks having 600+ plugs, a new workshop, larger powerhouse and 20 Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes. All of this will result in more efficient operations and shall enable customers to take delivery of their cargo much earlier.”
Mirza said with the massive investment at the terminal, WACT has established itself as the largest and most efficient container terminal in East Nigeria, adding that the company has also created 2,950 direct and indirect job opportunities in the country.
“Our vision is to make WACT the gateway to East Nigeria and beyond. We believe this vision can be achieved much earlier if government can support us by addressing some fundamental challenges like security risk because of piracy, clearance of overtime containers, improving roads and related infrastructure that connect Onne Port to the rest of Nigeria,” he said.
Hameed Ali (rtd), comptroller- general of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), who was represented at the event by the Assistant Comptroller General in charge of Zone C, Elton Edorhe, while reiterating the commitment of NCS to trade facilitation, said the deployment of the new cranes and reach stackers by WACT would improve efficiency and aid quick release of cargo at the port, leading to increased revenue for the government.