06 June 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – FOLLOWING the stoppage of subsidy payment to importers of petroleum products by government and the ban on the importation of cement into the country, there has been a drop in the volume of cargo and the number of vessels that berthed at the nation’s seaports in 2012 when compared to 2011.
Statistical figures presented at the Mid year report of the Transport Ministry showed that a total of 77 metric million tonnes of import was recorded in 2012 as against 82.8 million metric in 2011
Between 2009 and 2011, there was a steady increase in the volume of imports until 2012 when the graph started nose diving.
In 2009, the volume of cargo throughput showed that 66.9 million metric tonnes of imports was recorded from ports across the country, while 75 million metric tonnes of imports was recorded in 2012.
For 2011 and 2012, 82.8 and 77 million metric tonnes of imports was also recorded, an indication that the ban on cement and stoppage of fuel subsidy payment were responsible for the drop in imports.
A breakdown further showed that most of the nation’s imports came through the premier port in Apapa quays with a total volume of 21 million metric tonnes, in 2012, 23.4 million metric tonnes in 2011, 22 million metric tonnes in 2010 and 21.1 million metric tonnes in 2009.
The figure also showed that while a total of 15 million metric tonnes came in through the Tin-Can Island port in 2012, 15.4 million metric tonnes was imported in 2011, 13 million metric tonnes in 2010 and 14.1 million metric tonnes in 2009.
For the oil and gas free zone in Onne in River state, 27 million metric tonnes and 26.2 million metric tonnes were recorded in 2012 and 2011 respectively, while 2010 and 2009 saw imports at 23.3 million metric tonnes and 17.5 million metric tonnes.
The port in Calabar Cross River state recorded the lowest level of imports as only 2.1 million metric tonnes came into the country in 2012 as against 1.9 million in 2011, 1.6 million in 2010 and 1.7 million metric tonnes in 2009.
A decline in the imports that came through Delta ports was also recorded as only 7 million metric tonnes came in 2012, 8.5 million in 2011, 9.1 million in 2010 and 7.3 million metric tonnes in 2009.
“Drop in 2012 is attributed to the ban on importation of bulk cement and the challenges in the era of subsidy payment for petroleum products importation”. The report stated.
Besides the drop in imports, there was also a drop in the number of vessels that called at the nation’s ports last year.
The figures also showed that while 4,868 vessels called at the various ports across the country in 2012, the 2011 figure stood at 5,327, as against 4,962 and 4,620 in 2010 and 2009 respectively
While Lagos recorded the highest number of vessel calls with a total of 1,609 at the Tin-Can Island port, Calabar port again recorded the least put at 159 vessel calls in 2012 respectively.
*Godwin Oritse, Vanguard