Ports & Cargo Handling Services, owned by Sifax Group, on Saturday hosted the largest container ship to call at any West African port – the 4,500 TEU capacity West African Maximum (WAFMAX).
Port & Cargo’s General Manager in charge of Operations, Mustapha Mohammed, led other management staff of the company to receive the ship.
Mustapha said that the historic visit of the jumbo vessel was a fulfillment of one and a half years dream which the management of the terminal has doggedly pursued.
According to him, it took the company that long to realise the dream through negotiations with the owners of the vessel and the Nigerian ports Authority(NPA).
“Today is a great day, a dream come true. Everybody doubted that this cannot happen, that a 260-metre vessel cannot come to Nigeria. What they are expecting is 250 metre-long vessel, maximum but by the commitment and determination of the management of the terminal, the support of the NPA and the cooperation of the owner of the vessel, we are able to get this vessel to Nigeria. This is the largest vessel that will ever come to Nigeria and Tin Can port, in particular.
“We are able to attract the vessel by our ability to provide the enabling environment, required maximum draught, latest equipment such as RTG, our draft which is 12.5 metres and which we are maintaining as required by the NPA. Today is a great day for Nigeria, a great day for Ports & Cargo management,” Mustapha said.
He disclosed that the management of the terminal sent four pilots of NPA for training in Sorento, Italy, to acquire the required training and expertise to equip them to purposely guide the vessel into the terminal.
Jeff Gosciniak, the Managing Director of MSC, the owner of the vessel, said the voyage was an historic one that will have positive economic implications for Nigeria.
He reiterated the huge financial commitment of Ports and Cargo into making the dream a reality.
“The three NPA pilots were taken to stimulator training centre in Italy to teach them on how to navigate such a big vessel and they have successfully delivered the vessel here today without any incidence,” Gosciniak said.