Malam Habib Abdullahi, MD, NPA
The reforms in the nation’s seaports, which were initiated by former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, have yielded more positive results, as the terminals have witnessed an increase in cargo throughput.
The reforms, which were midwifed by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) led to the handover of the nation’s seaports to concessionaires in 2006. Since then, the day-to-day running of the ports is now in the hands of private operators, although the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) remains the landlord.
Statistics for August 2012 issued by NPA showed that cargo throughput stood at 6,872,901 metric tonnes, which showed a 4.9 per cent increase over the same period of August 2011, which had a figure of 6,552,596 metric tonnes.
The statistics, which were contained in the monthly report prepared by the authority, revealed that general cargo was 1,311,376 metric tonnes. This is an increase of 29.5 per cent over August 2011 figure.
In the same vein, laden container throughput stood at 75,056 TEUs which showed a 5.3 per cent increase over the same period of August 2011 figure of 71,263 TEUs. On the other hand, empty container throughput stood at 67,739 TEUs. This showed a rise of 34.3 per cent over the same period last year which stood at 50,456 TEUs.
Similarly, vehicle traffic within period under review stood at 25,531 units, representing a 12.4 per cent increase over August 2011 figure of 22,722 units.
The monthly report signed by NPA General Manager, Public Affairs, Chief Michael Ajayi, quoted the authority Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi, to have said that with the renewed effort of the Federal Government in revamping the rail and road network, speedy clearance of goods from the ports will further improve operational statistics.
In the same vein, the August 2012 report released by the authority showed that Nigerian ports have witnessed increased gross tonnage of vessels as against the same period last year.
The report revealed that the total gross tonnage of the ocean going vessels completed 10,809,321 which showed 7.8 per cent increase over the same period of August 2011 figure of 10,026,813.
According to the report, the number of coastal vessels completed was 1,809 indicating a growth of 4 percent over August 2011 figure of 1,739.
The gross tonnage of the coastal vessels was 708,584. This is a rise of 8.6 per cent over the August 2011 figure of 652,437. The authority has continued to attract bigger vessels with large volumes of cargo as a result of its consistent efforts in engaging in regular dredging and maintenance of our channels.
Abdullahi said more efforts would be put into rehabilitation of rails, port infrastructure, roads, and removal of wrecks in order to encourage quick turnaround time of vessels, speedy clearance of cargo, and greater efficiency in all the ports in the country.