Major container terminal operators at the nation’s seaports handled their highest volume of import containers ever in November last year.
The November 2013 import container volume was the highest in any one month and was unprecedented in the history of Nigerian port operation.
A check at APM Terminals Apapa revealed that a record import volume of about 30,000 TEUs was handled at West Africa’s largest container terminal in November 2013. This was higher than the volume handled in any one month since the terminal commenced operation. APM Terminal’s West African Container Terminal (WACT) in Onne, Rivers State also handled a record volume, the exact figure of which could not be ascertained as at press time.
The development is similar at the Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT). Commercial Manager of TICT, Mr. Richard Akinbosotu, said the terminal handled a record import container volume of 18,000 TEUs in November 2013 which was the highest volume handled in any one month at the facility.
An expert and maritime economist, Dr. Wilson Adeshina, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the upsurge recorded in the month was as a result of the yuletide season when importers imported in large quantity in order to meet the high demand for goods by consumers.
Adeshina commended terminal operators for coping with the challenge of the high import volume.
“Without the right skill sets and the availability of top of the range cargo handling equipment, there would have been crisis during the high importation period but then we must give the credit to terminal operator,” he said.
A clearing agent at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) Apapa, Mr. Ifeanyi Okafor, commended the terminal operator for coping well with the high import volume, attributing it to professionalism and equipment availability.
Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Musa Ilya, also confirmed that the huge investment in container handling equipment by terminal operators helped the port system a great deal.
Ilya said “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” have enhanced efficiency at the port.
As a result of the high volume of container import and the implementation of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recorded an upsurge in its revenue towards the end of the year.
Customs Area Controller, Apapa Area Command of the NCS, Comptroller Charles Edike, told journalists in December that his command generated in excess of N1 billion per day; an amount that doubles its daily revenue figure in the first ten months of 2013