The West African Container Terminal (WACT), Onne Port, Rivers State, has placed orders for 10 terminal trucks, two reach stackers and one empty container handler worth $2.5 million (N900 million) to cope with increasing volumes at the terminal.
The Managing Director of WACT, Aamir Mirza, said this over the weekend during the commissioning of four new terminal trucks to enhance service delivery to its customers. The four new trucks arrived the country on Wednesday, having been flown in on one of the world’s largest cargo airplane, the Antonov An-124.
Mr. 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 has led to an increase in container volumes at Onne, as more customers find WACT attractive to handle their goods.
According to Mirza, “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%. 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 8 per cent growth in container traffic. A sizable portion of this volume is due to traffic at Apapa, as more shippers are diverting their cargo to Onne.
“The equipment we ordered are made to our specifications, which is based on the environment and weather conditions. Our equipment is 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.” Mirza said.
He said the remaining six trucks and other equipment are expected to arrive the terminal before April.
“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.
Chapter Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Onne Free Zone, Michael Ebeatu, described the addition to the truck fleet as commendable.
“This will go a long way to help with the huge volume of containers coming here,” Ebeatu said.