ENL Consortium Nigeria Limited said it has invested massively in cargo handling equipment since 2006 when it took over operation of Terminals B and C of the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa.
Terminal Administration Manager of ENL Consortium, Mr. Uche Egbonu, stated this penultimate Friday when the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, visited various terminals at the LPC.
Egbonu said before ENL came on board, there were complaints by customers about plants and equipment inadequacy at the terminal but that the story has since changed for the better as a result of massive investment in cargo handling equipment by the company.
“There were things we had to fix when we came in. We have have made substantial investments in infrastructural development. We have rehabilitated the quay apron and have knocked down some warehouses in order to create room for storage.
“We also did the back shed access; we reconstructed them and rehabilitated some of them up to 90 per cent in the area of service”, he stated.
The ENL representative, who conducted the Minister and his entourage round the facility said that vessel turnaround time had improved considerably at the port to one day for containers ships and seven days for multipurpose vessels.
“When we took over in 2006, we were handling 1.6 million metric tons per annum but our 2011 and 2012 reports showed that we have done over 4.3 million metric tons per annum over the two years and that has shown that concession is on course”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein when the Minister visited APM Terminals Apapa, Chief Commercial Officer of the company, Mr. Nell Fletcher, said his company had invested over $300 million in developing and modernising the facility.
“We are halfway through a major construction which I believe you saw during the tour round our facilities”, he said.
After the tour, the National Planning Minister commended the terminal operators for ensuring the success of the Federal Government’s port reform programme.
He said the terminal operators have succeeded in increasing efficiency in port operations in the country. He also commended the terminal operators for their contributions to the economy since the port concession started seven years ago.
“Any ship that comes into Apapa docks immediately but the time of discharge will depend on the type of cargo to be discharged. Before the concession, ships waiting time was very high such that you see a large number of ships lining up to the Atlantic waiting to berth but now it looks as if there is no business going on in the port.”
“We have come a long way but may not have gotten to the ultimate but I think obviously with all the improvement and investment taking place we are heading to a situation where there is a significant headway. For instance, the additional surcharge put on every container coming into Nigeria has been removed and this has been a significant benefit to the importers and those who are doing business”, he said.
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