From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
The West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) said it has acquired 15 new Kone Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) for its transformation from the use of reach stackers in order to enhance service delivery at its terminal in Onne Port, Rivers State.
In a statement, WACT Commercial Manager, Noah Sheriff, disclosed that the terminal has received six of the 15 new RTGs, and has started training the operators of the highly technical cranes, just as eight new specialised terminal trucks arrived last week to support their huge transaction volumes.
“We expect to deploy this first set of RTGs into operations in May 2021,” Sheriff said. “Awareness campaign with the trucking community is also ongoing.
“It is the start of WACT’s transformation from the use of reach stackers to RTGs in the terminal, which will immediately increase our current import yard capacity. We are expecting a total of 15 RTGs. With the delivery of the first set of six, we expect nine more, which will be delivered later this year.”
According to him, the acquisition of the new cranes and terminal trucks is part of an ongoing $100 million investment “aimed at significantly increasing the terminal capacity for the benefit of our landside customers in the Eastern part of the country.
“We envisage significant volume growth, hence we embarked on an ambitious terminal upgrade, which includes both yard expansion and equipment upgrade.”
For the terminal upgrade, he said, the company has successfully transformed its quayside model of operation by moving from ships gear operations to full Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs), four of which are currently fully functional at the terminal.
“We are also delighted to inform the port community that our contractors have mobilised on-site for the commencement of civil works in continuation of the upgrade. The civil works are scheduled to be completed this December.”
Meanwhile, WACT Managing Director, Aamir Mirza, said the company has become one of the best-equipped container terminals in West Africa, with strategic plans for consistent improvement in every area of its operations.
“With our massive investment, WACT has established itself as the largest and most efficient container terminal in Eastern Nigeria, creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities. We now receive large and gearless vessels that hitherto were only able to call at the Lagos ports,” he said.
WACT, which started commercial operation in 2006, is the first Greenfield container terminal in Nigeria to be built under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
The terminal is located within the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne Port, Rivers State. Over the years, it has grown to become the most efficient gateway to markets outside the Lagos area.