Barely one month after commissioning two new Mobile Harbor Cranes worth US$10million at the Onne Port Complex, Rivers State; leading Nigerian port operator, the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) has upped the ante by acquiring four new additional specialized terminal trucks and two reach stackers.
WACT Managing Director, Mr. Aamir Mirza, said penultimate Thursday at the commissioning of the new trucks and reach stackers that the additional investment is aimed at further improving ship turnaround time and cargo delivery at the terminal.
The new acquisition brings to 14 the number of new specialized terminal trucks acquired by WACT this year.
“In February this year, four specialized terminal trucks were air-freighted at Port Harcourt International airport using one of the world largest cargo plane, Antonov 124. From then until now, with the two reach stackers and four terminal trucks that we commissioned today, it is basically the end of the first order that we placed.
“In all, it is about $4 million. In addition to this, the bigger investment is the cranes worth $10 million. So in all, we have spent $14 million so far this year. There are more equipment coming. For example, we will be getting man-lifter used to repair Mobile Harbor Cranes and 10 more trailers. This is in response to the growing business and to ensure WACT remains the Gateway to East Nigeria and beyond,” Mirza said.
The WACT Managing Director also said that the company is committed to becoming the best container terminal in West Africa.
“Our resolve is to be the best container terminal in West Africa and in line with that commitment, we have continued to invest in our manpower, our processes and our equipment. Today, WACT can effectively compete with any terminal in or outside Nigeria.
“Our array of modern cargo handling equipment, which include two new Mobile Habor Cranes; 18 Reach stackers, 4 Empty Handlers, 9 Fork Lifts and a total of 26 specialized Terminal Trucks mean we are well positioned to meet shipping lines, importers and agents at the highest level of service delivery,” he said.
Mirza, who commended the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for encouraging private sector investment at the port, said WACT has actualized the objectives of the Federal Government’s port concession programme.
He said, “The objectives of the port concession exercise were good and I think Nigeria has gained a lot as a result. For example, ours is a greenfield project and this facility was a swamp before concession. That meant we had to build from the scratch. We built everything you see here through our own investment and today we are happy to see that it is serving port users and meeting their needs very well. The economy is also benefitting tremendously from it.
Shippers in the Eastern part of the country don’t need to ship their cargo through Lagos anymore. Right here at Onne, they are getting top quality service and faster delivery of their boxes, as we are committed to meeting their expectations.”
Stakeholders present at the commissioning event commended WACT for its massive investment and upgrade of the terminal, which they said have brought about high level of efficiency at the facility.
The Port Manager, Onne Port, Al-Hassan Ismaila, said WACT has exhibited high level of commitment in running of the facility, which he said has led to improvement in service delivery.
“We really appreciate what WACT has been doing. The first time we were here, they commissioned forklifts, the second time, we came for terminal trucks, we were also here for the crane commissioning and this time around, we are also here for the reach stackers. This is another milestone. We appreciate and we congratulate the terminal,” the Port Manager, who was represented by the Traffic Manager of the port, Yohana Izam, said.
He assured that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) would continue to explore avenues to increase patronage of the Eastern ports while also ensuring safety and security of vessels coming through the region.
Other stakeholders who graced the event and lauded WACT include representatives of freight forwarding groups, importers, exporters, shipping lines and the Customs Area Controller, Port Harcourt 2 Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), who was represented by Deputy Comptroller Ado Audu.