The nation’s seaports in Onne, Rivers State and Lagos, have continued to witness a steady increase in ship traffic since last year, the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said.
Statistics made available to THISDAY at the weekend showed that the number of ocean going vessels completed in 2010 stood at 4,962, reflecting a 79 per cent increase over the total figure of 4,832 in 2009.
Similarly, the total gross tonnage of the ocean going vessels stood at 108,621,872 which showed a 20.1 per cent increase over the 2009 figure of 97,796,560.
In the same vein, coastal vessels that called at the ports in 2010 stood at 21,950. This is a reflection of 26.1 per cent increase over the 2009 figure of 17,403 while the gross tonnage of the coastal vessels in 2010 was 6,818,827 a growth of 18.6 per cent over 2009 figure of 5,747,640.
According to the management of the authority this laudable improvement can be attributed to the successful port reform process of the Federal Government which was embarked upon to make the Nigerian ports compete favourably with other ports in the world.
“The Nigerian Ports Authority in fulfilling its obligation of planning, development and maintenance of port infrastructure and provisions of common user facility as laid out on the concession agreement has continued to undertake the massive reconstruction of quay walls, rehabilitation of harbour moles, access roads and sidings.
“Also the joint venture agreements with consortiums of channel management companies for the dredging and maintenance of our channels are on-going. The removal of critical wrecks has ensured that draught requirements for safe navigation of oil and gas tankers as well as big vessels were achieved”, it added.
While outlining the future programmes of the authority, the Managing Director, Mr Omar Suleiman said there will be further improvements in the current year as efforts will be made to attract more vessels, develop new port facilities, expand the existing port facilities and develop the necessary infrastructure to make Nigerian ports the hub in the West and Central Africa sub-regions.