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WACT invests $2.5m in equipment, container terminal


Terminal. PHOTO: Jumia

To conveniently handle the increasing cargo volume at the terminal, the West African Container Terminal (WACT), Onne Port, Rivers State, has placed order for 10 new terminal trucks, two reach stackers, and one empty container handler worth $2.5 million (N900 million).

The Managing Director, WACT, Aamir Mirza, who disclosed this during the inauguration of four new terminal trucks to enhance service delivery to its customers in Onne, said the four trucks arrived last Wednesday, having been flown into the country on one of the world’s largest cargo airplane, the Antonov An-124.

Mirza said the increase in cargo volume at the terminal necessitated the need to increase the number of the cargo handling equipment and truck fleet.

He said congestion on the port roads in Apapa, Lagos, led to an increase in container volume at Onne, as more customers found WACT attractive to handle their goods.

“The traffic situation at Apapa is one of the reasons for our unprecedented growth. In 2016 and 2017, WACT recorded a growth of about 17 per cent. This is because of the stability of the Naira and government’s encouragement of agricultural-based exports.

“However, in 2018, we ended up with a 22 per cent growth as against our projections of eight per cent growth in container traffic. A sizable portion of this volume is due to traffic at Apapa, as more shippers are diverting their cargoes to Onne.

“The equipment we ordered are made to our specifications, which are based on the environment and weather conditions. Our equipment are not like cars that can be produced and kept in showrooms. It takes about four to six months for the equipment to be manufactured and shipped to us,” he said.

Mizra added that the remaining six trucks and other equipment are expected to arrive the terminal before April this year.

“Going by the growth of the Nigerian market, in about one and half years, our truck fleet will increase by 100 per cent, reach stackers by 50 per cent, and the empty handler fleet by 100 per cent. This is significant investment,” he said.

Chairman, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Onne Free Zone, Michael Ebeatu, described the addition to the fleet as commendable, saying: “This will go a long way to help with the huge volume of containers coming here.”

Chairman of Ports Consultative Council, Eastern Ports, Godwin Ololuka, described the inauguration of the new terminal as, “a laudable development.”

Also speaking, President, Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA), Godwin Onyekazi, commended WACT for positively impacting trade and economic activities in the South-East and South-South regions of the country.

He said: “Onne Port is about the only port outside Lagos that can be said to be really competitive, and we must commend WACT for its untiring effort at ensuring that containers shipped through the port are handled professionally, and delivered in good time to the owners.”

He said the 22 per cent rise in cargo volume recorded at the port in 2018, was bound to put pressure on the terminal, “but WACT has characteristically risen to the challenge of ensuring that customers do not suffer unnecessarily because of the increased volume.”

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