From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
West Africa’s largest container terminal, the APM Terminals Apapa, has added two new state-of-the-art Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs) as part of its ongoing facility upgrade to boost service delivery at the Apapa Port in Lagos.
The new acquisitions commissioned Thursday were part of the company’s fresh investment of $80 million (N33.6 billion) for the year 2020-2021, bringing its total investment at the port since 2006 to $438 million (about N184 billion) – the highest by any private terminal operator in Nigeria.
With the new acquisitions, the terminal now operates with a total of 10 MHCs, 23 Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes, six Empty Handlers, 48 specialised Truck Terminals, six Reach Stackers and 11 Forklifts, the company said.
Commissioning the cranes, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, said the investments met the Federal Government’s motive of port concession – to improve efficiency and free government resources for other developmental purposes.
Commending APM Terminals for the effort, she charged terminal operators to enhance cargo delivery processes and free the ports of long-standing cargo, adding that they should rise to the challenges of increased cargo traffic in line with the steady rise in cargo volume.
“We are engaging with the Nigeria Customs Service to remove overtime containers from the ports to free vital space for incoming cargo,” Usman said. “We are also working with terminal operators to increase the barging of containers to take pressure off the roads.
“We have noted a significant growth in barging capacity and operations with more containers moved daily by barges from the port.”
Earlier, the Head of Terminals, Africa and Middle East region of APM Terminals, Mr. David Skov, disclosed that before now, the company had invested $358 million (N150.36 billion) in port infrastructure development, information technology upgrade and modern cargo handling equipment to improve both quayside and landside operations.
“The additional investment we are making is to handle the increased trade volumes into Nigeria,” he stated. “Trade in Nigeria is growing due to the many favourable efforts and policies of the Federal Government.”
Skov listed them to include “but not limited to the policy on ease of doing business, stabilisation of foreign exchange, closure of the land borders, which has increased the use of our seaports, and diversification of the economy.
“The additional investments will create capacity to handle the growth in the economy to support government’s efforts on trade growth and improve service delivery across the logistics chain in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, the President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, represented by the Deputy President-General, Comrade Tonye Harry, commended APM Terminals for the investment and for improving port services in Nigeria.
Since taking over operations at the Apapa container terminals in 2006, the company’s heavy investment in port infrastructure, including container handling equipment, yard expansion, modernisation of the terminals’ IT hardware and software systems, and development of additional capacity.
This has led to significant improvement in productivity, reduction in vessel-waiting time and a doubling of container volumes at the port.