Nigeria's Ports To Become West, Central African Hub

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The hope of Nigerian ports becoming the hub in the West and Central African sub-region may not be far after the successful berthing last Tuesday of a Mearsk vessel, Mearsk Conakry, the largest container carrying vessel to visit Nigerian ports. The vessel berthed at the APM Terminals Apapa Limited inside the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, Lagos.

Speaking at a reception for the vessel, which is one of the West Africa Max (WAFMAX) vessel, Managing Director of Maersk Nigeria Limited, Mr. David Skov, said the successful berthing of the vessel will go a long way to solidify Apapa’s position as one of the leading ports in Africa, which, according to him, supports Nigerian Ports Authority’s vision to become the leading port in Africa.

Skov said: “The key to sustaining the impressive growth of the Nigerian economy is to inject additional vessels capacity without increasing the port stay of the vessels serving the Nigerian ports.

“Maersk Line and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, are facilitating further trade growth by creating such additional capacity through bigger vessel operations with improved productivity.WAFMAX means future growth!”

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While commending the NPA for dredging the channel, which, according to him, occasioned the successful berthing of the vessel, Skov said: “Without NPA’s efforts to increase the depth and draft of our ports to allow for the handling of bigger and more efficient ships, the deployment of the WAFMAX would not have been possible.

“For us to attain the vision of NPA (to be the leading Port in Africa) further improvement of infrastructure in form of dredging, tug boats, mooring and night navigation is required and we look forward to working with NPA and other maritime stakeholders towards such achievements.” Skov disclosed that Maersk Line has invested over $2 billion in its 22 large, modern and green WAFMAX vessels.

The NPA Managing Director, Engr. Omar Suleiman, who was represented by the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Ms. Aina Egharevba, stated that the successful berthing of Maersk Conakry is an indication that the nation’s waters can now accommodate bigger vessels and that it is a step towards the actualisation of Nigeria’s dream of a hub port status in the West and Central African sub-region. On his part, master of the vessel, Capt. Roger Harding, disclosed that the 250-metre long vessel has the capacity of 4,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). He said the draught of the Nigerian waters at the Lagos area was able to accommodate the vessel.