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WACT, PCHS leads in terminals with highest investment in cargo handling equipment in 2019

The West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), the most efficient gateway to markets in the Eastern parts of Nigeria, and Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited (PCHSL), an operator of terminal C in the Tin-Can Island Port, have been identified as the terminals with the highest investments in the acquisition of cargo handling equipment in 2019.

BusinessDay search reveals that WACT invested over US$14 million in terminal upgrade that involves taking delivery of two new mobile harbor cranes from Liebherr, about 14 new specialised terminal trucks, two new reach stackers and an empty handler.

A breakdown shows that $10 million was invested in acquisition of mobile harbour crane while about $4 million was spent on terminal trucks and other equipment.

Meanwhile, the Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited (PCHL), a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, invested over US$20 million in the acquisition of series of new equipment to aid the terminal in positioning for the future growth.

The new equipment, which include five new harbour cranes, nine reach stackers, 10 terminal tractors, and five units of Nissan Pick-Up, were acquired to not only support SIFAX Group’s business growth plan and vision, but to also enhance discharging of vessels calling at the terminal.

Speaking at the commissioning of the equipment in Lagos recently, Adekunle Oyinloye, Group managing director of SIFAX, said the investment was huge and very significant.

“We are excited because in the last two years, shipping liners have started to bring bigger vessels with longer rows of consignments. So, most of our older equipment, are finding it difficult to be able to deal with those vessels. But with this additional equipment, we will be able to deal with any size and shape of vessels,” he said.

Increasingly, according to him, ease of doing business, turnaround time of vessels and cargo dwell time would improve. This, he said, was why SIFAX was not only buying cranes, but also cargo handling equipments like reach stackers and terminal tractors.

“For us in Ports and Cargo, we want to be ahead and we are excited that we made the statement today. So far, we have committed over US$20 million and we are not stopping at that because there are more to come as it was just the first set that we commissioned,” he stated.

According to him, “We are hoping that access into the port would improve because efficiency and turnaround can only improve if government helps by improving the state of the roads in and out of the port.”

Aamir Mirza, managing director of WACT, stated that four trucks arrived first in February, two in April, and another four in June.

“This was in line with our plan of investing in container handling equipment to maintain our strong position in East Nigerian market. So far, we have 10 terminal trucks and four are still coming on the way. The trucks are required to support the operations of the mobile harbor cranes,” he said.

Recall that it was due to increase vessel traffic experienced at eastern ports after the diversion of cargoes from Lagos Ports as a result of traffic gridlock, that WACT acquired two new Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs) worth $10 million (N3.6billion) for discharge of cargoes at the terminal.

The Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs), which were expected to increase the turnaround time of vessels at the terminal, brought WACT at par with its peers in Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports, in terms of equipment and operational efficiency.

Speaking at the commissioning, in Onne, Rivers State, Mirza, said the massive investment at the terminal attracted 700 direct and 2000 indirect employments in the country.

He said the company has recorded tremendous growth of 17 percent in 2017, 21 percent growth in 2018 and 20 percent growth attained so far within the mid 2019. He described the $10 million investment as a key enabler to customers’ satisfaction.

“Our vision was to make WACT the best performing container terminal in West Africa. We believe this vision can be realised early enough if the government can support us to reduce the challenges of security by ensuring the safety of vessels on our waters, and improve road connectivity, among others,” he said.

Mirza said the cranes would enable volume growth resulting in increased productivity; reduced port stay and provide bunker savings; improve reliability in cargo delivery times; reduce the impact of crane breakdown/idle time on overall terminal operations; and increase customers satisfaction and speedy delivery.