History was made on Saturday at the Onne Port, Rivers State, as leading container terminal operator, the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), received the largest containership ever to berth at any Nigerian port.
The huge ship named Maersk Stadelhorn, with length overall of 300metres and beam of 48.2metres, has capacity to carry about 10,000 TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) of containers. Before now, the regular containerships calling at Nigerian ports are those in the class of WAFMAX with maximum capacity of 4,500 TEU.
Maersk Stadelhorn successfully berthed at WACT, Onne on Sunday August 15 at 1600hrs and currently situated at berth 8 and overlapping on Berth 9 due to the very large size/frame.
“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,” Country Manager of APM Terminals Nigeria, Klaus Laursen, said. He added that in addition to the support of NPA, the huge investment by APM Terminals in WACT also made it possible for the terminal to upgrade its services with modern cargo handling equipment to be able to handle very large container carriers.
“The feat recorded here at WACT is impressive. 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,” Laursen said.
The Managing Director WACT, Aamir Mirza, who spoke via telephone, said, “Over the last four years, we have continued on the journey to develop our business by investing in our people and container handling equipment and our handling this vessel is in line with our vision to make WACT the best performing container terminal in West Africa.”
Mirza said by successfully handling the 10,000 TEU vessel, the terminal operator has “once again proved to all our customers that WACT is capable of competing with other ports in Nigeria and West Africa”.