Besides crude oil terminals, 2,427 ocean going vessels with a total Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 60,096,179 gross tons called at Nigerian Ports in the first half of this year (2013).

Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) is a ship’s total internal volume expressed in “register tons”, one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet. It is calculated from the total permanently enclosed capacity of the vessel.

Within the period under review, Tin Can Island port recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 19,666,634 gross tons, indicating   10.6 per cent increase over the corresponding period of 2012 which was 17,777,277gross tons. A total of 830 vessels were handled in the period under review at the port.

Giving a breakdown of the statistics, Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) explained that Lagos Port Complex (LPC) recorded a GRT of 16,189,825gross tons showing an increase of 12.2 per cent over the first half 2012 figure of 15,519,058 gross tons while 712 ocean going vessels were handled at the Port within the period.

On its part, Rivers Port complex recorded a total GRT of 3,418,309 gross tons, reflecting a decrease of 5.5 per cent as against 3,612,002 achieved in the first half of 2012, with 227 Ocean going vessels at the end of the first half.

NPA explained that Onne Port complex recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 17,586,716 gross tons, 14.1 per cent decline compared with 20,488,507 gross tons, leaving the port with 380 ocean going vessels in the period under review.

Calabar Port complex recorded a GRT of 1,337,475 gross tons showing a growth of 4.75 per cent over 1,276,709 recorded in the corresponding period of 2012. It also handled 83 vessels within the period under review.

Meanwhile, cargo throughput of 35,812,858 million metric tonnes of cargo was handled within the period excluding crude oil terminals.

Available statistics indicates that the containerized   cargo throughput handled amounted to 6,222,754 million metric tonnes, “showing an increase of 3.55 per cent over the 2012 half year figure of 6,008,926million metric tonnes”.

According to the half-year report: “The total Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment handled in the period under review amounted to 8,462,535 million MT showing a decrease of 21 per cent over the 2012 half year figure of 10,811,166MT.

“The Refined Petroleum shipment handled was 9,835,719MT showing a growth of 4.55 per cent over the half year 2012 figure of 9,406,268MT.

“A total of 132,930 units of Vehicles were handled in the half year under review showing an increase of 2.73 per cent over the same period of 2012 figure of 129,389 units

“Dry Bulk cargo handled at the Ports in the period under review amounted to 4,573,322MT”.

In a related development, the Delta Port Complex handled a GRT of 1,897,220 showing an increase of 22.5 per cent over the 2012 half year figure of 1,547,862 gross tons, with 195 vessels handled.

NPA’s General Manager in charge of Public Affairs, Capt Iheanacho Ebubeogu said: “Although there is draught restriction, shuttle vessels to the Warri refinery are made bigger to enable carrying the requisite quantity of crude oil to the refineries at permissible draught”

He added: “The Analysis showed that most of the ports recorded increase in the Gross Registered Tonnage mainly due to the constant capital and maintenance dredging  of the channels at the nation’s  ports by the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and Bonny channel management companies.

“The Volume dredged from 2006 to date by the LCM is 53,583,546m3 while a total of 24 number of critical wrecks have been removed. Nigerian Ports started receiving larger vessels of above 232.33 metres with capacity of 4,500 TEUS requiring draught of 13.5 metres. This provides shipping companies the economy of space, which enhances their turnover.

“Taking advantage of this achievement, WAFMAX vessels ‘Maersk Calabar and Maersk Conakry’, 250 meters long vessel requiring 13.5 metres draught owned by Maersk shipping line commenced calling at Apapa ports.

“The Volume dredged by BCC from 2006 to date is 43,537,000m3 while 14 Wrecks has been removed.

“Bonny channel from its previous 12.50 meters draught has been deepened to its present 14.30 meters increased its width from 215 meters to 230 meters.

“The successful wreck removal campaign being undertaken by   the Authority also ensured safe navigation of vessels and protection of marine environment amongst other economic benefits”.

He quoted the Managing Director of NPA, Habib Abdullahi as saying  “the Port reforms has caused an intensified effort by the terminal operators to procure cargo handling equipment and upgrading of the various terminals while the Authority has continued   to engage in rehabilitation of Port infrastructure”.

According to him, with the Deep-sea ports scheduled to come on stream, “the vision to be the Hub of West and Central Africa will be achieved”.

Ebubeogu said reports from the quarterly update of information of developments at the different terminals “indicate 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”.

He added: “Our recent research revealed that generally each port is being shaped by the market forces dictated by the commodity demand and by the particular port user.

“Import in Onne for general cargo has since reduced by 30 per cent in total throughput but has been largely compensated for an increase of 60 per cent of gas.

“Lagos port complex is the only port that has maintained its traditional cargo morphology but with bias for containerization as palletized cargo is gradually giving way to this new global trend.

“Between 2003- 2012 Nigerian Ports Authority ports have experienced about 115 per cent growth. A close examination on this progress show that we do not handle transshipment and transit cargo, all cargoes are captive and Nigeria destined.

“It therefore shows that petroleum product liberalization, growth in Gross domestic product (GDP) and the transformation agenda resulting in increase in construction works have had an unprecedented economic impact on the port industry.

“Also the consistent effort by the Nigerian Ports Authority in fulfilling its obligation on one part and the terminal operators on another and with the provision of enabling environment by the Federal Government of Nigeria under Dr Goodluck Jonathan will further encourage investors’ confidence in the Port sector”.


Information from Guardian was used in this report.