SIFAX anticipates NPA approval to receive ships at Ijora terminal
SIFAX Group, one of the indigenous terminal operators in Nigeria, has announced that plans are presently in motion to bring cargo vessels to its Inland Container Terminal (ICT) located at Ijora Causeway, Lagos.
Paul Van den Linden, head of the terminal, said in a recent interview with BusinessDay in Lagos that the terminal operator is about to get all the needed approval from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
According to him, the approval will certify that the terminal has been put on the map as the first private inland container terminal in Nigeria to receive cargo ships like any other seaport.
“We are probably a few weeks away from getting the approvals. But, of course, the terminal needs to be ready to receive that kind of vessel especially in the area of dredging from the fairway buoy to enable vessels to come in and go out,” he explained.
According to him, SIFAX Group has done a lot of preparation and simulation programmes to see how vessels will come in and goes out from the terminal.
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“All of that has been done in line with the NPA. After getting the approval, we can now go full to do the dredging in order to get the channel to 9meters depth required for such vessels to come into the terminal. We are very active in achieving this goal but it takes a bit of time. At the end of the day, we will get there,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the terminal which started operations in October 2020, also said it handled over 33,500 Twenty Equivalent Units (TEUs) in its first year of operations.
“For our first year of operations, the terminal has recorded 33,500 TEUs of cargo processed. These include 22,000 TEUs of laden containers, 10,000 TEUs of empty containers, and 1,500 TEUs of export containers,” Linden said.
Linden said the terminal commenced operations to alleviate the difficulties experienced by various port users, including truckers, shipping lines, agents, and consignees while accessing the Lagos ports.
According to him, the exceptional growth in the volume of containers handled in the terminal in one year was due to the smart solutions introduced, favourable customer responses, and excellent service delivery.
“In the last one year, the terminal has recorded great strides in line with its core objectives of offering clients a smart alternative in cargo clearing around the Lagos ports. Our clients do not have to go through the stress of traffic gridlock in Lagos Ports to clear their goods,” he said.