The volumes of cargo handled at Nigeria’s seaports dropped to 78.4 million metric tonnes in 2020 from 80.2 million metric tonnes recorded in 2019. This represents a decline of 2.24 per cent.
The ports also recorded a decline in ship traffic as a total of 3,972 ships called in 2020 as against 4,251 in 2019.
Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, who gave the figures at a media parley in Lagos, attributed the drop to the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the global economy.
Usman said, “In year 2020, the nation’s busiest port, Apapa Port received 632,148 TEUs of container traffic compared to 668,672 TEUs received in 2019.
“For the nation’s second busiest port, Tin Can Island Port, 650,365 TEUs of containers arrived at the port in 2020 compared to 820,942 TEUs of containers in 2019.
“For Onne port, 266,109 TEUs of containers arrived in 2020 compared to 247,528 TEUs in 2019. In Rivers port, 91,971 TEUs of containers arrived in 2020 compared to 71,020 TEUs in 2019. At Calabar port, 1,561TEUs of containers arrived in 2020 compared to 174 in 2019.
“Delta port suffered a dip in container traffic in 2020 with 1,224 TEUs compared to the 6,827 TEUs it recorded in 2019. In total, the number of container traffic that came to Nigerian ports was 1,643,378 TEUs compared to the 1,815,163 TEUs received in 2019.
“For a number of vessel calls at the Apapa port, 986 ships called in 2020 compared to 1,034 vessels in 2019. At Tin Can port, 1,127 ships called in 2020 while 1,311 vessels called in 2019.
“In total, Nigerian ports received 3,972 ships with a Gross Registered Tonnage of 125,133,912 compared to the 4,251 ships that called in 2019 with a Gross Registered Tonnage of 138,577,463.
“In terms of cargo throughput, we had 78.4 million metric tonnes in 2020 while the nation recorded 80.2 million metric tonnes in 2019.”
The improvement in container traffic at Onne Port is as a result of the deepening of the port channel and huge investment in cargo handling equipment by the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT).
While restating the authority’s commitment to the optimal utilization of the eastern ports, she expressed concern over the refusal of Customs to auction overtime cargoes at Onne Port, which she said have taken up available space at the terminals.
“Onne Port is gradually becoming a container hub. The operators of the jetties that we have there have been getting a lot of traffic but right now, the challenge we have in Onne Port is overtime cargoes that have not been collated and Customs has not auctioned these overtime cargoes, which has resulted in cargoes remaining a long time at the port and the terminals not having enough space to accommodate new imports,” she said.