By Louis Ibah
Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHIN) has sealed a partnership with COSCO shipping Lines (Nigeria) Company Limited on handling and storage of empty containers at the SHI-MCI yard in Lagos as part of a diversification programme geared at boosting the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
A statement by the company at the weekend described the empty containers handling and storage business as an alternative potential business that would generate revenue at a period that the industry is experiencing ‘low season’ of offshore project while also creating additional job opportunities for Nigerians.
It said the estimated contract duration, subject to final agreement, would be one year, and may be extended for another six months term subject to the written mutual agreement of both parties.
“With the Apapa gridlock, which has crippled businesses around that axis of Lagos, SHI-MCI is to provide a suitable and alternative location for shipping agents for storage of their empty containers reachable by barge/vessel.
“Recognising SHI-MCI Yard’s state of the art facilities paired with technological expertise of Samsung Heavy Industries, COSCO has requested SHIN to undertake handling and storage of empty containers at SHI-MCI yard for their regular ships, up to three voyages per month,” the statement said.
COSCO SHIPPING Lines is a fully owned subsidiary of COSCO SHIPPING Holdings Company Limited mainly engaged in domestic and international maritime container transport services and related businesses, as the group’s core business sector.
By the end of December 2020, COSCO SHIPPING Holdings Company Limited owned and operated 423 container vessels with a total capacity of 2.3 million, ranking third position in the world in terms of shipping capacity. COSCO SHIPPING Lines also operates 399 international and domestic shipping routes.
About 40 per cent of 46,000 containers per month were between Nigeria and China, while 116,000 containers per month were for other parts of the world.
COSCO owned more than 10,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of empty container at several loading bay of port terminals.
These should be ready to be transferred to SHI-MCI FZE yard as SHI-MCI FZE has received National Operating License from Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).
These operations include berthing of barges at SHI-MCI FZE Quay wall for the offloading of empty containers, storage of empty containers at SHI-MCI FZE Laydown area and the berthing of feeder vessel at the quay to backload the empty containers unto the vessels for shipping.
The statement said the empty containers would be evacuated to be exported to Cotonou Port, Benin; Lome Port, Togo; Tema Port, Ghana and Malabo, Cameroon.
It said under the arrangement between SHIN and COSCO, every empty container, which would be arriving the SHI-MCI yard would be inspected, tagged and sealed prior to evacuation and own its unique registration number that would be handy to identify, relocate and segregate with other containers.
“Samsung Heavy Industries, the parent company of SHIN, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading oil producers for its accumulated shipbuilding technologies in offshore development facilities. It has also built more Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) units than any other shipbuilder around the world. The SHI-MCI yard operated by SHIN is hailed as the most advanced fabrication and integration yard in West Africa and was built in Lagos to make Nigeria a hub of integration and fabrication of Floating Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessels, LNG tankers, ship repairs and shipbuilding in sub-Sahara Africa.
“The yard had made history as the first integration quay in Africa to receive a 330-metre long Egina FPSO unit for the installation of six top side modules that were fabricated in Nigeria. To ensure that the yard was not idle during the ‘low season’ of offshore projects, an international vessel christened ‘Pacific Ruby’ berthed at the yard earlier this year, which was the second major project to be handled at SHI-MCI after the sail away of Egina FPSO.
“The resumption of operations at the SHI-MCI yard has given a boost to the efforts of SHIN to use the yard and this will reduce the level of unemployment in the country as more manpower will be engaged in the yard. The renewed activities at the yard will also generate revenues for the various Nigerian government agencies, thus ensuring a beneficial situation for all stakeholders,” the statement added.