Nigerian ports handled a record 76.9 million metric tomes of cargo in 2013, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Assistant General Manager Public Affairs of NPA, Musa Ilya, said the 2013 cargo throughput was 0.043 per cent higher than the 76.86 million metric tonnes handled in 2012.
He said container traffic at the ports during the year amounted to 1,010,836 TEUs (twenty equivalent units) showing a growth of 15.2 per cent over the 2012 full year figure of 877,737 TEUs.
According to him, a total of 291,824 units of vehicles were handled during the period under review showing an increase of 8.9 per cent over the 2012 full year figure of 268,026 units.
He further disclosed that 19.3 million metric tonnes of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) were handled in 2013, representing a 12.7 per cent slump from 22.2 million metric tonnes handled in 2012; while 19.1 million metric tonnes of refined petroleum products passed through the port, representing an increase of 9.5 per cent over the figure of 2012.
Ilya put the 2013 dry bulk cargo volume at 9.5 million metric tonnes, showing a decline of 6.5 per cent from the 2012 figure of 10.2 million metric tonnes while the volume of general cargo handled stood at about 12 million metric tonnes, indicating a drop of 5.8 per cent over the 2012 full year figure of 12.7 million metric tonnes.
A total of 5,185 ocean-going vessels with a total Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 131.7 million tonnes, according to him, called at Nigerian ports in 2013 out of which the nation’s premiere port, Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, handled 1,498 ships representing 34.5 million tonnes. This amount, he said is 9.4 per cent higher than the volume handled by the LPC in 2012.
Tin can Island Port, on the other hand, seems to have overtaken LPC as the nation’s busiest port.
The port handled a record 1,725 ocean-going ships amounting to 42.8 million tonnes. The figure is 23.2 per cent higher than the volume handled at the port in 2012. Calabar Port handled 197 ships; Rivers Port 447; Onne Port 820 and Delta Port 498.
“The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Habib Abdullahi, at the recent launch of the e-payment solution for the organization said it has become imperative for this management to seek ways of improving the revenue of the authority without compromising efficiency and to provide comfort for our customers.
“The drive for this robust engagement was the realization that there is a direct correlation between the levels of revenue collected by the authority and her capacity to provide infrastructural facilities or fund other transformation initiatives that would engender economic growth within the ports environment and improve service delivery to our stakeholders,” Ilya stated.
He said the port reforms which threw open investment opportunities in the port sector saw terminal operators undertake continuous and appreciable facility upgrades and acquisition of state of the art container handling equipment which ensured quick container handling operations and reduced cargo dwell time.
“Our recent research revealed that generally each port is being shaped by the market forces dictated by commodity demand and by the particular port user.
“The decline experienced in some products can be linked to general economic factor. In Dry Bulk for instance, there is ban on the importation of cement, also the increase on rice tariff has reduced the importation of the commodity to the country through Nigerian ports, but through smuggling by another route.
“The European debt crises gave birth to the decrease in Liquefied Natural Gas, many of their industries have closed down, and so the demand for our product was low. They have also discovered an alternative means of production in the Middle East.
“The 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.