• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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Nigerian ports record 115% growth in cargo volume in 10yrs

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Nigerian ports have recorded about 115 percent growth in the volume of inbound cargoes imported into the country through the economic gateways (the seaports) in the past 10 years, says Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in its third-quarter performance report.

Findings have shown that aside from Nigerian-billed cargo, which has grown in recent times due to increasing number of middle class population, the nation’s seaports do not handle transhipment and transit cargo for neighbouring countries, especially landlocked ones.

“This therefore shows that growth in the demand for petroleum product, increased gross domestic product (GDP), and the transformation agenda, which has also resulted in the increase in construction works done across the country, had an unprecedented economic impact on the port industry,” the report said.

Quarterly update of developments at different terminals, according to the report, shows appreciable facility upgrades and acquisition of state-of-the-art container handling equipment by the terminal operators, which has ensured quick container handling operations and reduced cargo dwell time.

Also, the consistent effort by NPA in dredging the water channels and removing of critical wrecks has helped in growing the volume of imported cargo.

On the other hand, the provision of enabling environment by the Federal Government has further helped in building the confidence of investors, especially terminal operators, into investing in the development of the port industry.

NPA’s recent research revealed that performance and volume at each port are being shaped by market forces dictated by the commodity demand and particular port users. In Onne port, for instance, general cargo import has reduced by 30 percent, but this is largely compensated for by an increase of 60 percent in the volume of imported gas. Lagos port complex is the only port that has maintained its traditional cargo structure with bias for containerisation as palletised cargo is gradually giving way to this new global trend.

In terms of channel management, larger vessels of above 232.33 metres with capacity of 4,500 TEUS requiring draught of 13.5 metres have started visiting the nation’s seaports. This has provided shipping companies with a high level of efficiency and economy of scale that has enhanced quick turnaround time.

Analysis shows that most of the ports recorded increased Gross Registered Tonnage due to the constant capital and maintenance dredging of the channels at the nation’s ports by the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and Bonny Channel Management companies.

“The volume dredged from 2006 to date by the LCM is 53,583,546m3, while a total of 24 critical wrecks have been removed. The volume dredged by BCC from 2006 to date is 43,537,000m3 and 14 wrecks were also removed. Bonny channel was deepened from 12.50 metres draught to 14.30 metres including an increased width from 215 metres to 230 metres,” said the NPA report.

The report further noted that the above has also helped in ensuring safe navigation of vessels and protection of marine environment, amongst other economic benefits.

Habib Abdullahi, managing director, NPA, said that port reforms have resulted in competition as there has been an intensified effort by the terminal operators to procure cargo handling equipment and upgrade of the various terminals. The authority has continued in providing the common user facilities needed for improvement of port operations.