From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
To boost its capacity for cargo handling and enable it cope with the significant growth at the Lagos Port following the closure of the land borders, the APM Terminals, Apapa, has placed orders for five more handling equipment.
The Managing Director, Mr. Martin Jacob, who disclosed this in Lagos, refuted claims that the current port congestion was due to the terminal’s lapses. Rather, he said the company took delivery of the first batch of three cranes last month, adding that the surge in cargo volume has necessitated further investments in equipment.
Jacob’s clarification followed a 30-day ultimatum reportedly given the terminal last month by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which expires this week.
According to him, “due to the conducive economic environment, coupled with the closure of the border with Benin, Lagos ports witnessed a spike in volume as cargo was diverted from Cotonou, with periods such as October witnessing up to 50 per cent Year-on-Year growth of imports.
“APM Terminals Apapa has expedited the investment in additional equipment, with the first batch of three cranes already in operation after arriving within the last month.
“A further five cranes are scheduled to arrive within the next few weeks to not only handle the ocean-going vessels but also inject much needed capacity for the needed barging.
“The current investment phase, covering yard expansion, apart from equipment, will cost about N65 billion. APM Terminals Apapa is committed to delivering the Nigerian Ports Authority’s vision of enhancing the country’s maritime sector.”
In 2006, APM Terminals was awarded the concession to manage, operate and develop the Apapa container terminal at the Lagos Port Complex, after the Federal Government concessioned Nigerian ports with the purpose of improving port services through private investment and expertise.
The 55-hectare facility has 1,005m quay length, 13.5m draft, alongside an annual handling capacity of 1.2 million TEU. So far, APM Terminals has invested about N130 billion in infrastructure, IT upgrade and modern container handling equipment to improve both quayside and landside operations.