The Onne Ports Complex in Rivers State is currently undergoing massive transformation to further reduce the ship turn around time.
Turn around time is the amount of time it takes to unload a ship or plane at the end of one journey and load it again for the next one. The average turn around time is a key parameter to measure ports’ efficiency.
Onne is a relatively major port in the Eastern region and has several quays with facilities for cargo ships up to 60,000 gt. It is also the main base for the offshore activity in the region, and a large number of supply-vessels call at Onne every week.
The operators of the port West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) has confirmed that some new critical equipment would be acquired soon to further reduce the ship turn around time.
The Managing Director, WACT, Aamir Mirza, confirmed that the operator has invested over $14 million this year to upgrade the facility and enhance service delivery at Onne Port.
Mirza said four new trucks and two reach stackers, worth about $4 million, have just been acquired in Onne.
He said the $4 million investment was in addition to the $10 million expended on the two new Mobile Harbor Cranes earlier in the year.
Expressing the company’s commitment to meet the growing demand at Onne, he said more equipment are expected soon, adding that that the massive investment is aimed at further improving ship turnaround time and cargo delivery at the terminal.
The new acquisition brings to 14 the number of new specialized terminal trucks acquired by WACT this year.
“In February this year, four specialized terminal trucks were air-freighted at Port Harcourt International airport using one of the world’s largest cargo planes, Antonov 124. From then until now, with the two reach stackers and the four terminal trucks, it is basically the end of the first order that we placed.
“In all, it is about $4 million. In addition to this, the bigger investment is the cranes worth $10 million. So in all, we have spent $14 million so far this year. There are more equipment coming. For example, we will be getting a man-lifter used to repair Mobile Harbor Cranes and 10 more trailers. This is in response to the growing business and to ensure WACT remains the gateway to Eastern Nigeria and beyond,” he said.
Mirza continued: “Our array of modern cargo handling equipment, which include two new Mobile Habor Cranes; 18 Reach stackers, four Empty Handlers, nine Fork Lifts and a total of 26 specialized terminal trucks mean we are well-positioned to meet shipping lines, importers and agents at the highest level of service delivery,” Commended the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for encouraging private sector investment at the port, he said WACT has actualized the objectives of the Federal Government’s port concession programme.
He said, “The objectives of the port concession exercise were good and I think Nigeria has gained a lot as a result. For example, ours is a greenfield project and this facility was a swamp before concession. That meant we had to build from scratch. We built everything you see here through our own investment and today we are happy to see that it is serving port users and meeting their needs very well. The economy is also benefitting tremendously from it. Shippers in the Eastern part of the country don’t need to ship their cargo through Lagos anymore. Right here at Onne, they are getting top quality service and faster delivery of their boxes, as we are committed to meeting their expectations.”
The Port Manager, Onne Port, Al-Hassan Ismaila, said WACT has exhibited a high level of commitment in running of the facility, which he said has led to an improvement in service delivery.
The Port Manager, who was represented by the Traffic Manager of the port, Yohana Izam, assured that the NPA would continue to explore avenues to increase patronage of the Eastern ports while also ensuring safety and security of vessels coming through the region.