On ports efficiency

The rise of container volume in the Port of New York and New Jersey to nearly four per cent in 2011, year over year, breaking the annual record set in 2007 before the start of the global economic downturn.
The port handled 5.5million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2011, while the port’s express rail on dock rail system also set a new record in 2011, handling 422,144containers or 12 per cent more than in 2010. Loaded import container rose four per cent year over year to 1,562,413TEUs, while loaded export increased 6.6 percent to 918,316 TEUs in the same period.
Quite interesting, over five million TEUs handled in one year and the Port of NewYork and New Jersey is not so much the size of the Lagos Port Complex. It is about efficiency, automation, doing things that should be done.

There is a rail line that takes containers out of the port. Here in Lagos, we are talking about encroachment of town on our port, but it is the same thing over there and that has not taken away the fact that that port remains one of the most efficient port in the world and it is also run by APM Terminals. There is effective rail system, a good chunk of the consignment at the port is moved out by rail, good management system, low level of 100 per cent physical examination and they have scanners. On a visit to the port, Ships & Ports asked the Port Administrator specifically about how many of these containers are examined and he said may be one out of every 100. That is why the port is able to handle this much.
It’s been said that the terminal operators don’t have space. It is not the amount of physical space, it’s about the turnaround. How long does it take you to move one box out of the port? That is what is crucial. If you convert the whole of Apapa into a container terminal, if there is no efficiency, there will be congestion.
There is need for expansion of infrastructure. The volume of imports in the last five years has practically doubled, but the roads have remained the same, no railways, no new infrastructure developments to bridge the gap. We need planning, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should come out with development plans of five years, 10years, and 25 years. And these plans must be implemented.

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