Cargo throughout at the nation’s seaports stood at 19.66 million metric tonnes in the first quarter of this year, showing an increase of 14 per cent over the 17.25 million metric tonnes recorded in the first quarter of 2013.
A breakdown of the throughput figure shows that general cargo, containerised goods inclusive, contributed 6.32 million metric tonnes or 32.2 per cent to the throughput figure, witnessing a slight increases of 1.4 per cent over the 6.23 million metric tonnes recorded in the corresponding period of 2013.
2.3 million metric tonnes of dry bulk cargo were handled at the ports in the first three months of the year as against 1.97 million metric tonnes handled in the same period of last year.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment accounted for 27.4 per cent of the cargo throughput at 5.39 million metric tonnes compared to 3.75 million metric tonnes handled in the corresponding period of last year. The increase in LNG cargo was 43.8 per cent.
Refined petroleum products handled at the ports stood at 4.61 million metric tonnes representing 23.5 per cent of the total cargo throughput.
Container traffic, including empty containers, amounted to 426,976 TEUs, showing a growth of 15.1 per cent over the 2013 figure of 371,085 TEUs.
A total of 78,754 units of vehicles were handled in the period under review showing an increase of 32.1 per cent over the same period of 2013 figure of 59,608 units.
A total of 1,327 ocean going vessels with a total Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 33.94 million called at the ports during the period under review. This compares favorably with 1,172 vessels with GRT of 28,830,386 handled in the first quarter of 2013.
“Generally in the first quarter of 2014, the level of operational activities at the port locations witnessed positive variance over the first quarter of 2013. This could be largely traceable to the implementation of e-payment in January 2014 which has reduced turnaround time of vessels from 5.3 days to 4.6 days within the period under review.
“Also significant increase in LNG shipment resulting from the European economic recovery efforts after the debt crises contributed remarkably to the increase in cargo traffic,” Assistant General Manager Public Affairs of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Musa Ilya, stated in a press release sent to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday.
The Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, while receiving the Belgium Ambassador to Nigeria, Diru Verheyen, said that successful implementation of the port reform programme embarked upon by the federal government in 2006 gave birth to the improved operational activities and has also opened many investment opportunities for investors.
Abdullahi said that NPA will continue to focus on research-based policies and measures that will ensure uninterrupted port operations, fast tracking automation of port operations, continuous dredging and removal of critical wrecks along the channels “which will guarantee the conducive business environment essential to achieving its vision to be the leading port in Africa.”
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