Trade volumes soar in African ports despite challenges, says report

IdentifiedA NEW report has described African ports especially those in West Africa as the least efficient globally. However, the report explained that trade volume is on the increase despite the challenges.

According to the report, how to best serve the region is a daily dilemma for shipping lines, adding that  CMA CGM subsidiary recently announced an “emergency port congestion” surcharge for Doula, Cameroon to be implemented on May 1, 2015.

“Despite modest gains reported in the first three months of 2015, overall reliability to and from the (African) continent is still far from optimal,” said the co-author of the study, Victor Shieh.

Shieh noted that with container shipping lines deploying much bigger ships on services from Asia, quay and landside congestion at African ports is a massive challenge for the industry.

The report explained that even the planned new terminals at Abidjan, Tema, Lome and Lagos, “which are forecast to add up to 12 million  Twenty foot Equivalent Units (TEU) of quayside capacity, will only improve reliability if there is land-based infrastructure growth as well”.

According to the London Loadstar, West Africa’s ports are almost entirely dependent on roads to remove containers, “so it follows that the bigger the ships, the more severely landside congestion will affect nearby cities”.

It explained that vessels of 5,000 TEU or more account for more than 20 per cent of tonnage deployed between Asia and West Africa, and “MSC has even introduced an 8,500-TEU ship on its Africa Express Service that hubs at Lome, Togo”.

For the year 2014, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) recorded a cargo throughput of 86,603,903 metric tonnes of cargo, an increase of 12.64%.6 per cent over the 2013 figure of 76,886,997 metric tonnes.

Reacting to the result, recently, Managing Director of NPA, Habib Abdullahi said within the year, management continued to pay attention to first and foremost improving existing port infrastructure in the areas of rehabilitation of port quay walls and apron, deepening of channels, upgrading of common user facilities and wreck removal from channels.

A statement issued by the  Assistant General Manager (Public Relations) Iliya Musa explained that the LNG shipment topped the figure with 21,679,330 metric tons, indicating an increase of 12.1% over 19,341,663 metric tons in 2013. According to IIiya, General Cargo trade also showed strong growth  as it recorded 14,502,263metric tons, an increase of 21.2% over 11,964,978 metric tons in 2013 while Dry Bulk stood at 9,843,199 metric tons, showing an increase of 3.2% over 9,537,442 metric tons achieved in 2013, the statement said. Refined Petroleum was 20,736,699 metric tons, an increase of 6.8% over 19,416,043 metric tons in 2013.

Laden Container Throughput was 1,063,380 TEUs, a growth of 5.2% over 1,010,836TEUs in 2013.Empty Container Throughput was 790,586 TEUs, an increase of 10.3% over 717,011 TEUs in 2013.This shows that Nigeria remains a significant hub of containerized goods in the West and Central Africa.

Crude Oil shipment stood at 107,880,239 metric tons, an increase of 0.2% over 107,686,011 metric tons in 2013. Also, the total of 5,541, oceans going vessels with a total Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 147,852,920 gross tons called at Nigerian Ports.

In the period under review, Lagos Port Complex (LPC) recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 36,969,456, showing an increase of 7.2 per cent over 34,466,291 gross tons achieved in the same period of 2013.

Tin can Island Port recorded a Gross registered tonnage of 50,011,289, indicating 17 per cent increase over the corresponding period of 2013 which was 42,758,161 gross tons. Calabar Port complex recorded a total GRT of 4,085,903 showing an increase of 46.3 per cent compare with 2,792,488 gross tons recorded in 2013.

Rivers Port complex recorded a total Gross registered tonnage of 7,304,591, representing 14.2per cent growth over 6,394,270 gross tons achieved in the corresponding period of 2013. Onne Port complex recorded a GRT of 41,854,687, reflecting an increase of 7.4 per cent over 38,967,131 gross tons recorded in the corresponding period of 2013.

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