The ongoing reformation of the seaports in Nigeria that led to the standardization of their operations has recorded a drastic increase in the patronage of the ports by foreign ships, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Malam Habib Abdullahi has said.
Malam Abdullahi in an online statement to participants at a two-week training programme for management staff of the NPA, media and publicity office, maritime editors and senior reporters from selected media organisations in Nigeria on editorial administration and management training at the International School of Communication in Dubai, United Arab Emirate said the nation’s seaports now provide world class standard safety and security.
He said the Nigerian port reforms have caused an intensified effort by the terminal operators to procure the most modern cargo handling equipment and upgrading of the various terminals while the authority has continued to engage in rehabilitation of port infrastructure.
The online statement signed by the General Manager Public Affairs of the agency, Captain Iheanacho Ebubeogu, said within the first six months of this year, the Nigerian seaports have handled total vessels gross tonnage of 60,096,179 million gross tons described as unprecedented.
“The deep seaports scheduled to come on stream the vision to be the Hub of West and Central Africa will be achieved. In the first half of 2013, 2,427 ocean going vessels called at all Nigerian Ports (excluding crude oil terminals) with a total Gross registered tonnage of 60,096,179 Gross tons. 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 (2.83 m3). It is calculated from the total permanently enclosed capacity of the vessel.
“The Tin Can Island port recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 19,666,634 gross tons, a 10.6 percent increase over the corresponding period of 2012 which was 17,777,277 gross tons. A total of 830 vessels were handled in the period under review at the port. Lagos Port Complex (LPC) recorded a GRT of 16,189,825 gross tons showing an increase of 12.2 percent over the first half 2012 figure of 15,519,058 gross tons. Also in the same period under review 712 ocean going vessels were handled at the Port.
“Rivers Port complex recorded a total GRT of 3,418,309 gross tons reflecting a decrease of 5.5 percent as against 3,612,002 achieved in the first half of 2012. 227 Ocean going vessels were handled at the Port within the period. The Onne Port complex recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 17,586,716 gross tons, 14.1 percent decline compared with 20,488,507 gross tons. The port handled 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 percent over 1,276,709 recorded in the corresponding period of 2012.Also 83 vessels were handled in Calabar Port. The Delta Port Complex handled a GRT of 1,897,220 showing an increase of 22.5 percent over the 2012 half year figure of 1,547,862 gross tons. 195 Vessels were handled at the Delta Port complex in the first six months of 2013. 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,” the statement read in part.
The statement indicated that the increased patronage of the Nigerian ports in the Gross Registered Tonnage was due to the constant capital and maintenance dredging of the channels at the nation’s ports by the Lagos and Bonny channels management companies, adding, “The volume dredged from 2006 to date by the LCM is 53,583,546m3 while a total of 24Nos critical wrecks have been removed.
“Nigerian ports have started receiving larger vessels of above 232.33 meters with capacity of 4,500 TEUS requiring draught of 13.5 meters. 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 meters draught owned by Maersk shipping line commenced calling at Apapa ports,” the statement read in part.
BCC had from 2006 to date dredged 43,537,000m3 and removed 14 wrecks of abandoned ships while the Bonny channel from its previous 12.50 meters draught has been deepened to its present 14.30 meters and 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.