Sifax Group said it is preparing to take delivery of four new mobile harbour cranes, as part of effort aimed at boosting cargo handling operations and efficiency at its terminal, Port and Cargo Handling Services.
Port and Cargo is the operator of Terminal C, Tin Can Island Port Complex and a subsidiary of Sifax Group.
Managing Director of the terminal, John Jenkins, who disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday at a media briefing to review the company’s business performance in the first half of 2019, said the cranes, acquired at the cost of 4.5 million euro each will arrive the country in the next few months.
The cranes, he said, were acquired to complement five existing ones, bringing to nine the number of such cranes acquired by the terminal.
He said, “These four cranes will help improve our performance and turn around for vessels. They were acquired at the cost of about 4.5 million euro each and they will arrive the country in few months time.”
Speaking on the company’s mid-year performance, Group Managing Director of Sifax, Adekunle Oyinloye said the Group recorded a “slower number of volume” in its operations in the first half of the year.
He attributed the decline to the deplorable condition of the port access roads, which he said gave rise to cargo diversion to port of neighbouring countries. He urged the Federal Government to think beyond the road by linking the Tin can Island Port to rail for easy evacuation of cargo.
He said, “In terms of what we have achieved during the first half of the year, it has been a mixed bag. The road has being a major factor in slowing down activities at the port. We wish the road can be speedily restored because that was the pride of our port at some points. A number of our consignment that spend some extra days at the port have no good reason to be there, if the roads are good. The delivery would have been smoother.
“In terms of number, we recorded a slower number of volume but we believe that we can overcome that over the time. With the expanding port activities in other countries, everybody is trying to get smarter. Even the land locked countries, are beginning to grow ports where efficiency is at play and we are losing that to port of Lome and even Cotonue. It is quite a shame seeing some ports in the West coast of Africa taking the shine off the Nigerian ports,” he said.
Oyinloye, however, expressed hope that the business environment for the second half of the year would be more conducive, with the current intervention of the presidential task force in clearing the traffic gridlock and the restructuring of the Sifax Group to better position itself ahead of the turn of event in the industry.
“For the second half of the year, the task force seems to have had some kind of formula in reducing the number of trucks lying on the road. With that, access in and out of the port might improve for the rest of the year and turn around would be better. So that might speak for higher business volume. But again, the general slowdown in the economy might also temper with the volume that we expect. But all in all, we don’t see a bad year.
“Part of that looking into the future has given birth to a five year strategic plan and it is in planning and executing that plan that you see many of the new people that we have brought on board to drive the new business that we see. That is the reason why we have positioned ourselves to have increase number of bonded terminals,” he said.
He added that the Group has also invested in the Sifax haulage and logistics with an additional 25 brand new trucks that would be delivered next week to facilitate speedy delivery of goods from the terminal.
“Our haulage business has become a stronger part of us. We have massively invested in logistics to be able to do door to door for our client and we tend to continually do that. We have also invested in massive equipment to be able to support the growing business that we have. We have recorded a number of new equipment to handle berthing vessels and taking consignments to various destinations,” he said.