One of the concessionaires in the nation’s seaports, Ports and Cargo Limited, has acquired more equipment to enhance its operations.
The firm, which is one of the subsidiaries of Sifax Group and operator of Terminal C, Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Apapa, Lagos, also said it was upgrading its facilities to aid effective service delivery.
The equipment procured by the indigenous firm includes shore cranes, forklifts, terminal tractors and trailers. This has made the company terminal to witness an improvement in the efficient tracking of containers, reduction in cargo vandalisation and theft and total enhancement of service operations.
These were disclosed by the firm Managing Director, Mr. John Jenkins, at a media briefing in Lagos.
According to him, these initiatives have led to a tremendous decrease in turnaround time of vessels. Formerly, ships require 5-7 days berth occupancy, however, recently, it only takes about 36-48 operational hours for ships to berth and leave the terminal. This efficient time-savings is attributable to the computerisation of operations, installation of new terminal operating systems to track container movements and is a departure from the manual spotting of containers by humans.
Jenkins said despite the system upgrade of its terminal, the group was still facing challenges in areas of power supply and road connectivity.
Decrying the source of public power by the. Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) since the concessioning of the port, Jenkins said his firm had expended huge amounts to run generator plants with the accompanying costs of fuelling.
“One of the major challenges we are facing is that of non-connection of our terminal to public light. As a result of this, we have been relying on generators in the last six years to power the terminal. We have therefore invested so much in the purchase of generators along with the associated costs of diesel and maintenance”, he said.
Also on the issue of road connectivity, Jenkins said apparently the Nigeria Customs Service has willfully claimed its own portion of the access road leading to its facilities.
His words: “This has created the wrong impression that the terminal is always busy and filled with container vehicles discouraging potential clients from patronising the group.
“Another serious challenge to our operations is the obstruction of our own portion of the common user access road by the Nigeria Customs Service. Containers, trucks, vehicles and other cargoes that are seized by Customs from other terminals are always kept on the access road, resulting in its reduced to a single lane. Entrance to our terminal becomes a nightmare and this also creates an impression that our terminal is heavily congested.”
He therefore called for a permanent solution to the problem, saying that a total review of the existing port entrance with a view to modernisation could ensure smoother entry and exit.
Information from This Day was used in this report.