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Improved port channels attract large ships as cargo throughput surge at Nigerian ports

Larger vessels of above 232.33 meters with capacity of 4,500 TEUS requiring draught of 13.5 meters have started visiting the Nation’s seaports, according to a statement by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

A press statement issued by NPA Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, Musa Ilya, noted: “This has provided shipping companies with a high level of efficiency and economic space which has enhanced their turnover and turnaround time. Generally, stakeholders and shipping companies have confirmed that the channel management and conservancy function of the Authority has continued to improve. The Analysis showed that most of the ports recorded increase in the Gross Registered Tonnage mainly 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 Company (BCC).”

Ilya stated that the LCM has dredged 53.5 million cubic metres of sand at the Lagos port channel since 2006 while a total of 24 numbers of critical wrecks have been removed while the volume dredged by BCC from 2006 to date is 43.5 cubic metres with 14 wrecks removed at the port channels outside Lagos.

“Bonny channel from its previous 12.50 meters draught has been deepened to its present 14.30 meters increased its width from 215 meters to 230 meters. The successful wreck removal campaign being undertaken by the Authority also ensured safe navigation of vessels and protection of marine environmentamongst other economic benefits,” he said.

He quoted the Managing Director of NPA, Habib Abdullahi, as saying that “Port reforms has resulted in healthy competition as there has been an intensified effort by the terminal operators to procure cargo handling equipment and upgrade of the various terminals while the Authority has continued to provide common user facilities needed to improve port operations.”

The NPA spokesman said that apart from crude oil terminals, 1,366 ocean going vessels with a total Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 34,640,530 gross tons called at Nigerian Ports in the 3rd Quarter of 2013.

He said Lagos Port Complex (LPC) recorded a GRT of 9,263,180 gross tons showing an increase of 12.3 per cent over the 3rd quarter of 2012 figure 8,250,315 gross tons while 369 ocean going vessels were handled at the port within the first quarter while Rivers Port Complex recorded a total GRT of 1,371,846 gross tons, reflecting a decrease of 11.2 per cent as against 1,526,002 achieved in the third quarter of last year, with 108 ocean going vessels handled at the end of the third quarter.

“The Onne Port complex recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 9,709,984 gross tons, 15.7 per cent decline compared with 11,238,781 gross tons, leaving the port with 219 ocean going vessels in the period under review. Calabar Port complex recorded a GRT of 751,553 gross tons showing a growth of 15 per cent over 653, 077 recorded in the corresponding period of 2012. It also handled 35 vessels within the period under review. In a related development, the Delta Port Complex handled a GRT of 2,346,612 showing an increase of 184 per cent over the 2012 3rd quarter figure of 823,595 gross tons, with 94 vessels handled,” he said.

Ilya stated that cargo throughput of 19,849,258 million metric tonnes of cargo was handled showing an increase 2.6% over the 2012 third quarter figure of 19,340,901 Million metric tonnes excluding crude oil terminals.

“Available statistics shows that the containerized cargo throughput handled amounted to 3,559,453 million metric tonnes, showing an increase of 12.3per cent over the 2012 3rd quarter figure of 3,168,412million metric tonnes.

“The total Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment handled in the period under review amounted to 4,859,453 million MT showing a decrease of 20per cent from the 2012 3rd quarter figure of 5,828,281MT. The Refined Petroleum shipment handled was 4,804,184MT showing a growth of 24 per cent over the 3rd quarter of 2012 figure of 3,869,923MT.

“A total of 76,598 units of Vehicles were handled in the period under review showing an increase of 13 per cent over the same period of 2012 figure of 67,804 units. Dry Bulk cargo handled at the Ports in the 3rd quarter of 2013 amounted to 2,585,902 MT. General Cargo handled at the ports in the 3rd quarter of 2013 amounted to 2,977,347MT indicating a decline of 16 per cent from the 2012 3rd quarter figure of 3,466,311MT,” he stated.

He identified “appreciable facility upgrades and acquisition of state of the art container handling equipment by the terminal operators which ensured quick container handling operations and reduced cargo dwell time” as factors that have contributed to efficiency at the port.

“Import in Onne for general cargo has since reduced by 30 per cent in total throughput but has been largely compensated for an increase of 60 per cent of gas. Lagos port complex is the only port that has maintained its traditional cargo morphology but with bias for containerization as palletized cargo is gradually giving way to this new global trend.

“From 2003 till date, Nigerian ports have experienced about 115 per cent growth. A close examination on this progress show that we do not handle transhipment and transit cargo, all cargoes are captive and Nigeria destined.

“It therefore shows that petroleum product liberalization, growth in Gross domestic product (GDP) and the transformation agenda resulting in increase in construction works have had an unprecedented economic impact on the port industry,” he said.

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