Two terminal operators in the nation’s seaports, West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), Onne, Rivers State and APM Terminals Apapa, Lagos have procured more gantry cranes to boost their operations.
WACT said it has acquired 15 new Kone Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) to enhance service delivery at its terminal in Onne Port. Already, the first batch of six RTGs has arrived at the company operational base in Onne.
The Commercial Manager of WACT, Mr. Noah Sheriff, who confirmed this in a statement issued by the company said the concessionaire had commenced training operators of the highly technical cranes which are the first in Nigeria’s Eastern ports.
“We expect to deploy this first set of RTGs into operations in May 2021. Awareness campaign with the trucking community is also ongoing,” he said.
Sheriff said the deployment of the six new cranes “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,” he said.
In addition to the new RTGs, he said WACT took delivery of 8 new specialized terminal trucks last month to support the high incoming volumes.
He explained that the acquisition of the new cranes and terminal trucks is part of an ongoing USD100 million investment which is aimed at significantly increasing the terminal capacity for the benefit of our landside customers in the Eastern part of the country.
Continuing, he said: “We envisage significant volume growth; hence we embarked on an ambitious terminal upgrade which includes both yard expansion and equipment upgrade. As part of the terminal upgrade project, we have successfully transformed our quayside model of operation by moving from ships gear operations to full Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHC) operations. Our terminal currently has four fully functional Mobile Harbour Cranes.
“We are also delighted to inform the port community that our contractors have mobilized on-site for the commencement of civil works in continuation of the upgrade. The civil works are scheduled to be completed this December”.
The Managing Director of WACT, Aamir Mirza was quoted saying that the firm has become one of the best-equipped container terminals in West Africa and has strategic plans for consistent improvement in every area of its operations.
His words: “With our massive investment, WACT has established itself as the largest and most efficient container terminal in East Nigeria, creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities. We now receive large and gearless vessels that hitherto were only able to call at Lagos ports”.
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 Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos.
On its part, APM Terminals Apapa said the procurement of more gantry cranes was part of a larger equipment fleet renewal and expansion programme where a total of 7 RTGs, 7 Reach Stackers and 2 Empty Handlers have been acquired.
With the new acquisition, APM Terminals Apapa will in 2021 have 30 RTGs in operation. It also has 13 MHCs in addition to several reach stackers, forklifts, empty handlers and specialised terminal trucks; making it the best equipped port terminal in Nigeria.
The Chief Operating Officer of APM Terminals Apapa, Steen Knudsen who disclosed this in Lagos recently averred that the new cranes which were built with the latest technology have lifting capacity of 41 tons and will ensure efficient services to the entire port community.
He said the new cranes were acquired as part of an ongoing investment of USD80 million for the year 2020-2021, bringing the total investment by the company in Apapa since 2006 to USD438 million (approximately N168 billion).
“We remain committed to deepening our investment in Apapa to enable us handle increasing volumes at the port. The additional investments will create capacity to handle growth in the economy to support the Federal Government’s efforts on trade growth and improve service delivery across the logistic chain,” Knudsen said.
He said APM Terminals Apapa recently deployed 4G LTE wireless network and commissioned its Operation Command Centre to enhance service delivery.
“We have embarked on massive digitization of our operations and services. This is in keeping with our global transformation drive. The deployment of the 4G LTE wireless network has stimulated greater efficiency and higher productivity as it will allow for better collaboration in our terminal operations.
“The new Operation Command Centre which was commissioned by the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi accompanied by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman in December comes with several benefits to our customers. The Centre is the brain of the business. It is about day-to-day execution where information is exchanged. This is where we decide which box to put where, at which time and the equipment to pick it up so that everything works together.
“It will strengthen exchange of information and coordination in the movement of containers out of the port thereby enhancing operational efficiency in addition to providing a better work environment,” he said.
According to him, APM Terminals would continue to introduce new innovations at Apapa to help both shipping lines and landside customers achieve improved supply chain efficiency, flexibility and dependability, in a cost-effective manner. This will inevitably enable our customers to compete in world markets and ultimately, grow their business.