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‘Biggest vessel call is a mark of confidence in Nigeria’s economy’

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The largest vessel to call Nigerian port – MV Maersk Stadelhorn at Onne Port, Rivers State, at the weekend.<br />

For a 10,000 TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) vessel to berth at the Nigerian port, when world economies are being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, sign of confidence in the nation’s economy.

This was the submission of stakeholders, Country Manager, APM Terminals Nigeria, Klaus Laursen, who received the largest containership at the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), Onne Port, in Rivers State.

The huge ship named, Maersk Stadelhorn, with an overall length of 300 metres and beam of 48.2 metres, has capacity to carry about 10,000 TEU (of containers. Before now, the regular containerships calling at Nigerian ports are those in the class of WAFMAX with a maximum capacity of 4,500 TEU.

Laursen said: “The significance of this development is that even the ports in Lagos will now have to try and catch up with the new standards set by WACT. It is also important to mention that this is happening at this critical time when economies of the world are facing a lot of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a mark of confidence in the Nigerian economy.

“We are saying that in spite of COVID-19, the Nigerian economy is strong, and will continue to be buoyant. The COVID-19 challenges are temporary, and the economy will certainly record positive growth in the nearest future,” he said.

He applauded the Nigerian Ports Authority for the feat, saying: “We are excited at this historic achievement. We thank the Nigerian Ports Authority for dredging the channels and for professionally piloting the vessel to the port. Without the effort, support and approval of NPA, this would not have been possible,”

Laursen said in addition to the support of NPA, the huge investment by APM Terminals in WACT also made it possible to upgrade its services with modern cargo handling equipment to be able to handle very large container carriers.

The Managing Director WACT, Aamir Mirza, who spoke via telephone, said by successfully handling the 10,000 TEU vessel, the terminal operator has “once again proved to customers that WACT is capable of competing with other ports in Nigeria and West Africa.”

The Commercial Manager of WACT, Noah Sheriff, said the terminal has over the years become the gateway to Eastern Nigeria, and a strong alternative to ports in Lagos, with multimillion dollars investment made in information technology, and modern cargo handling equipment.

The Port Manager of Onne Port, Alhassan Ismaila, along with his management team, and senior Customs officers from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Port Harcourt Area II Command, were also on ground to receive the vessel.

Maersk Stadelhorn successfully berthed at WACT, Onne, on Sunday, August 15th, at 1600hrs, and currently situated at Berth 8 and overlapping on Berth 9 due to its very large size/frame.


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