Lagos — IN a bid to enhance service delivery at its terminal at the Onne Port, Rivers State, APM Terminals’ West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria (WACT) has taken delivery of six more state-of-the-art Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) thereby effectively consolidating its position as the best equipped port terminal in Nigeria’s eastern ports.
The new addition brings the total number of RTGs at the terminal to 14. The terminal also has four Mobile Harbor Cranes, and several other cargo handling equipment including Reach Stackers, terminal trucks and empty container handler.
The Managing Director of WACT, Naved Zafar, who was on hand to receive the new RTGs alongside other senior management staff of the company on Tuesday last week, said the new cranes will increase yard capacity, improve vessel operations at the terminal and fast track the delivery of cargo.
He said, “For the terminal operator, a crane is like a baby. Naturally, we are very happy to welcome this baby to the APM Terminals/WACT family. We already have eight RTGs and it is good to see that these six additional RTGs have arrived in good time for proper testing and commissioning. We have been recruiting new operators, and have trained them very well, so they are very ready and excited to operate these cranes.”
Zafar said the new cranes were acquired as part of an investment of USD100 million upgrade of the terminal. The upgrade, according to him, includes the acquisition of additional Mobile Harbour Cranes, Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes, Reach Stackers, terminal trucks and trailers and an empty container handler.
The upgrade will also include the deployment of reefer racks with a 600-plug capacity, as well as expansion of the current yard, new workshop and a new terminal gate complex.
“The eastern Nigeria market is projected to grow. Therefore, it is important that infrastructure keeps pace with the projected volume growth. This is why APM Terminals is investing over USD100 million in WACT for new equipment and yard expansion, so as to keep pace with market growth and better serve our customers in East Nigeria and beyond,” Zafar said.
Also speaking, the Commercial Manager of WACT, Noah Sheriff, said the six new RTGs will increase the overall terminal capacity and improve service delivery for both liner and landside customers.
“One of our challenges currently is high yard density due to high import volume, so these new arrivals will give us the opportunity to continue handling the strong volume growth we have seen throughout this year,” Sheriff said.
He said volume growth at the terminal is as a result of WACT’s ability to provide premium services to its customers.
“If you can recall, we changed our quayside mode of operations last year from ship gear to Mobile Harbor Cranes and this year we are transforming our main yard from reach stacker to RTGs operations.
“Our e-commerce capabilities coupled with the ongoing upgrade project, which are key milestones in our transformation journey, has undoubtedly set us apart, as we offer products second to none in the east Nigeria market,” the WACT Commercial Manager said.
Appreciating the role of collaboration evident in the progress of the upgrade project, Senior Project Manager OF APM Terminals, Rutger ten Thij said a dedicated engaged project team is working with several global contractors to realize the different critical milestones in this ambitious project.
“Teamwork is the keyword for proper timely handover from all the new assets to operations,” Thij said.
WACT, which is owned and operated by APM Terminals, started commercial operation in 2006. It is the first Greenfield container terminal in Nigeria to be built under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. The terminal is located within the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne Port, Rivers State. Over the years, it has grown to become the most efficient gateway to markets outside the Lagos area.