Following the foreign exchange crisis in the country and the exclusion of 41 items from access to forex, the level of operational activities at the port locations in first quarter of 2016 dropped significantly when compared with the same period of 2015.
The first quarter 2016 operational report released by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) revealed that though all cargo types declined during the period, container and general cargo traffic contributed significantly to the overall drop in cargo throughput.
Consequently, the NPA said there is urgent need to complement its investment in infrastructural renewal and automation of Nigerian port operations, by generating enough export cargo to make up for the shortfall of import cargo being witnessed in the ports.
The shortfall, it added, could be attributed to the reduction in government expenditure (a laudable and broad plan of the government to rebuild the economy), the exchange rate volatility as well as global economic crisis.
To address the problem, the NPA said it did an analysis of port capacity as a catalyst to economic development through export commodities.
The analysis, it stated, revealed that about 90per cent of container traffic left the shores of Nigeria empty.
“This position was communicated to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) by NPA management and highlighted the need to sensitize Nigerians on the need to fill the vacuum through export commodities, especially Mines and agro-allied products, “it stated.
Analysis of the report showed that in the first quarter of 2016, a total of 1,131 oceans going vessels and crude oil tankers with a total Gross Tonnage (GT) of 59,441,614 called at Nigerian Ports.
The report showed that Lagos Port Complex (LPC) recorded a gross tonnage of 8,195,979 showing a decrease of 11.5 per cent from 9,262,792 gross tons achieved in the first quarter of 2015. A total of 296 vessels were handled in the period.
Tin Can Island Port handled a total gross ton of 11,853,587, showing a decline of
1.2 per cent from the 12,260,427 gross tons achieved in the corresponding quarter of 2015. A total of 417 vessels were handled in the period under review.
Calabar Port complex handled a total GT of 776,718, showing a decline of 15.4 per cent from 918, 237 gross tons in the first quarter of 2015. A total of 46 vessels were handled in this Port this same period.
Rivers Port complex contributed a total gross tonnage of 1,253,616 showing 14.2 per cent drop from 1,461,562 gross tons in the corresponding period of 2015. A total of 79 ocean going vessels were handled within the period.
Onne Port complex recorded a GT of 9,851,240 reflecting a decrease of 13.4 per cent from 11,371,820 gross tons recorded in the corresponding period of 2015 with 176 vessels handled within the period.
Delta Port Complex added 1,756,305 gross tons, showing an increase of 4.7per cent over the 2015 figure of 1,677,915 gross tons, with 117 vessels handled.
Crude Oil Terminals recorded 25,754,169 gross tons, indicating a decrease of 12.5 per cent from 29,424,223 gross tons in 2015 with 221 tankers completed.
Also, cargo throughput, the total volume of Cargo (inward and outward) handled in all the port locations during this period stood at 43,347,523 metric tons, showing a decrease of 12.6 per cent from 49,604,516 metric tons recorded in 2015.
Analysis of cargo throughput revealed that; general cargo was 1,893,519 metric tons, a decrease of 48.1 from 3,649841metric tons as against 2015.
Dry Bulk Cargo stood at 2,176,725 metric tons as against 2,306,938 metric tons achieved in 2015, indicating a drop of 5.6 per cent while Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment was 5,079,262 metric tons compared with 5,459,402 metric tons in 2015.
Also, crude oil Shipment was 25,754,169 metric tons, indicating a decrease of 12.5 per cent from 29,424,223 metric tons figure in 2015.
A total of 27,133 units of vehicles were handled in the period under review showing a decline of 10 per cent from the same period of 2015 figure of 30,139 units.