Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has decried that the nation’s ports are being stretched to accommodate 32 million additional metric tonnes of cargo, beyond the capacity of the ports.
The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman revealed this at the 12th edition of Nigeria International Maritime Ports and Terminals (NIMPORT) Conference and Expo.
Usman, while delivering a paper on ‘Improving Port Logistics Connectivity, Imperative for Regional Trade Integration’ at the event, stated that the capacity of the entire ports in the country was 40 million metric tones yearly, the ports accommodated over 72 million metric tonnes, last year.
Usman, who was represented by the Assistant General Manager (AGM) Operations, Mr. Durowaiye Ayodele, stressed that the upcoming deep seaport projects in Lekki and Ibom would help dissipate the traffic burden on existing ports.
Despite these claims, the ports in the Eastern part of the country are still underutilized as shippers prepare to route their cargoes through Lagos. Efforts to get the breakdown of the cargo details from NPA port by port were futile up to press time.
However, Nigerian ports recorded a total cargo throughput of 18.8 million metric tonnes in the first three months of 2019, according to data emanating from NPA.
The ports welcomed 1,045 vessels with Gross Registered Tonnage of 32.97 million tonnes. Two empty containers came in while the number of laden containers was 122,787 with GRT of 2.8 million MT.
Empty containers that left the ports numbered 95,447 while laden ones were 28,162 with GRT of 486,978 tonnes. Out of this number, Twenty Equivalent-Units containers were 37,733.
The major mode of trade for the quarter under review was by sea and the leading port of operation was Apapa port which accounted for N4.06tn or 89.6 per cent of total export transaction.
This was followed by Port-Harcourt (3) Onne through which goods worth N298.6bn were shipped and Tin Can Island which recorded exports worth N109bn or 2.4 per cent.
In terms of imports, Apapa Port also remained the leading port of operation with transactions valued at N1.3tn or 34.5 per cent. Port Harcourt (3) accounted for N882.3bn or 23.8 per cent while Tin Can Island accounted for N701.0bn or 18.9 per cent.
Comparatively, the total cargo throughput for the full year of 2018 was 73.2 million tonnes.
An average cargo throughput per quarter in 2018 was 18.2 million tonnes.