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WACT to expand port capacity with phase two terminal upgrade in Onne

Determined to expand its capacity to handle more volumes, the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), a leading container terminal in the Eastern part of Nigeria, said it has perfected arrangements to begin the Phase 2 of its terminal upgrade within the next 18 months.

WACT, which has become the most preferred container terminal outside the Lagos area, is fast gaining reputation as the gateway to Eastern Nigeria and the alternative to the ports in Lagos.Noah Sheriff, commercial manager of WACT, said the Phase 2 upgrade will consist of the acquisition of three additional Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs) to bring the number of MHCs at the terminal to five; acquisition of 20 Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes (RTGs); three Reach Stackers; 13 terminal trucks and trailers as well as an empty container handler.

To him, the upgrade will include deployment of reefer racks with 600 plugs capacity, as well as expansion and paving of the current yard by 13 hectares, building new workshop and new terminal gate complex.

“We anticipate additional volume growth as more and more shipping lines, importers and exporters continue to develop confidence in our ability to handle their cargo. This further investment is to ensure that we are well prepared to handle the additional business in the future,” he said.

According to Sheriff, the new investments will increase productivity and reliability of cargo delivery while reducing port stays and vessel idle time, adding that all the above will lead to greater customer satisfaction.

Recall that in 2019, WACT spent US$14 million to acquire equipment including two Mobile Harbour Cranes, 14 specialised terminal trucks and two reach stackers. This first phase of investment last year brought high operational efficiency and set WACT apart from other ports in East Nigeria.

“Our vision is to make WACT the best performing container terminal in West Africa. We believe this vision can be realised through active collaboration with the government to reduce the security challenges faced by vessels in our waters, and improved road connectivity,” stated Aamir Mirza, managing director of WACT.

Since December 2019, WACT has been handling gearless vessels, which previously could only be handled at the ports in Lagos. Several stakeholders have commended WACT for being proactive and for its long-term commitment to the Nigerian economy.

“There has been substantial increase in import volume and to measure up with that, they have acquired a lot of equipment to ease cargo clearance and we commend them for that because they are doing very well,” said Gabriel Okonkwo, chairman, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), Onne Port.

According to him, WACT is keeping up with the demand, and it can receive vessels, load and drop containers for examination at the same time.

WACT is one of the first Greenfield terminals to be built in Nigeria under a public, private partnership initiated by the Federal government in 2003. Located in the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone near Port Harcourt, the port caters to the greater Port Harcourt area and Eastern Nigeria, including the Nigeria oil and gas industry.

Since inception, WACT has successfully played a pivotal role in connecting East, North, West Central Nigeria and River State to the world.