WACT Orders $2.5m Equipment to Handle Container Volume
Stories by Eromosele Abiodun
The West African Container Terminal (WACT), Onne Port, Rivers State, has ordered 10 terminal trucks, two reach stackers and one empty container handler worth $2.5 million (N900 million), to cope with increasing volume at the terminal.
The Managing Director of WACT, Aamir Mirza, stated this during the inauguration of four new terminal trucks to enhance service delivery to its customers. The four new trucks arrived the country recently.
Mirza, said the increase in cargo volume at the terminal necessitated the need to increase the number of the cargo handling equipment and truck fleet.
He said congestion on the port roads in Apapa, Lagos, had led to an increase in container volumes at Onne, as more customers find WACT attractive to handle their goods.
“The traffic situation at Apapa is one of the reasons for our unprecedented growth. In 2016 and 2017, WACT recorded a growth of about 17 per cent. This is because of the stability of the naira and government’s encouragement of agricultural-based exports.
“However, in 2018, we ended up with a 22 per cent growth as against our projections of 8 per cent growth in container traffic. A sizable portion of this volume is due to traffic at Apapa, as more shippers are diverting their cargo to Onne.
“The equipment we ordered are made to our specifications, which is based on the environment and weather conditions. Our equipment is not like cars that can be produced and kept in showrooms. It takes about four to six months for the equipment to be manufactured and shipped to us. “
He said the remaining six trucks and other equipment were expected to arrive the terminal before April.
“Going by the growth of the Nigerian market in about one and half years, our truck fleet will increase by 100 per cent, reach stackers by 50 per cent, and the empty handler fleet by 100 per cent. This is significant investment,” he said.
The Chapter Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Onne Free Zone, Michael Ebeatu, described the addition to the truck fleet as commendable.
“This will go a long way to help with the huge volume of containers coming here, “Ebeatu said.
Chairman of Ports Consultative Council, Eastern Ports, Godwin Ololuka, described the inauguration of new terminal trucks as “a laudable development.”
Also speaking, President of the Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA), Godwin Onyekazi, commended WACT for positively impacting on trade and economic activities in the South-East and South-South regions of the country. He said WACT has enhanced the competitiveness of Onne Port and made the port more attractive for importers and shipping lines.
According to him, “Onne Port is about the only port outside Lagos that can be said to be really competitive and we must commend WACT for its untiring effort at ensuring that containers shipped through the port are handled professionally and delivered in good time to the owners.”
He said the 22 per cent rise in cargo volume recorded at the port in 2018 was bound to put pressure on the terminal, “but WACT has characteristically risen to the challenge of ensuring that customers do not suffer unnecessarily because of the increased volume”.
WACT, which started commercial operations in 2007, is reputed to be one of the most customer friendly port facilities in Nigeria. With a capacity of 314,000 TEUs, 325 reefer plugs and berths with depth of up to 12 meters, it is the most efficient gateway to most markets outside the Lagos area.