The Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) has promised to collaborate to with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to make Nigerian ports a preferred destination for cargoes.
The terminal said this recently when the management staff of the Tin Can Island port led by the new Port Manager; Engineer Emmanuel Akporere, paid a familiarization visit to all the terminals in Tin Can ports.
Speaking during the visit, the Managing Director of the terminal, Mr. Etienne Richer, also lamented that the port operators are faced with lot of challenges including gridlock outside the terminal gate, adding that most port congestion took place at Tin-Can Island Port and not at Apapa Port.
The managing director, however, urged the management of NPA to rehabilitate Tin-Can Island Port and Apapa Port access roads.
He said that the management of TICT had invested more than $140 million since 2006 when it took over the ownership of the terminal.
In his speech, the Port Facilities Security Officer, Josepdam terminal, Retired Lt.-Cdr Sylvanus Nwanna, lamented that the major complaint was attacks by hoodlums who came through the water by boat.
“Each time a vessel comes along, the bad elements will capitalise on the preparation of the ship to berth and come alongside to hit.“When they come with their boats, they will use nets to attempt to board the vessels.
“With the security apparatus we have on ground, we have been able to solve the problem. They will always attempt but they will not succeed,’’ Nwanna assured.
He urged the port manager to come to their rescue by reducing the challenges, adding that the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, had promised to get more patrol boats to eliminate the challenges.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Grimaldi Agency, Mr Ascanio Russo, said the management of the terminal had introduced barges to beat the traffic and improve on their services.
“The customer does not have to come to the port. The barges will pick the cargo from the terminal and deliver the cargo at Mile 2 terminal for the customers.
“We just started the operations of barges a week ago and so far we have been able to discharge 400 containers off the terminal without facing delay of trucks coming into the port to carry containers.
“Before now, it used to take a week for trucks to reach the terminal and take containers out of the port but with the introduction of barges, we discharged many containers daily without seeing the owners,’’ Russo said.He said that the terminal had been running on gas generator to power the terminals, saying that using gas generator was economical than using diesel. Reacting to all the challenges, Engineer Akporere, pledged to work with stakeholders there to end the perennial traffic congestion along access roads to the port.
“The terminal operators are doing well at Tin-Can Port but their major problem is congestion along the access roads to the port, which the present NPA management is working hard to stop.
He also promised to do everything to address the issue of traffic in the ports. “My major goal is to find how the gridlock along the port access road will be defeated.
“Many people do not know that the congestion had truncated a lot of businesses and created a lot of complications to operations. Congestion also slows down business activities. The NPA management will team up with all government agencies, stakeholders as well as Lagos State and local governments to eradicate the traffic problem,’’ Akporherhe said.
He said that for those terminals facing challenges of miscreants and hoodlums, the NPA would combine efforts with the terminal operators to fight it. The port manager commended the managements of Grimaldi, Port and Terminal Multi-Services Ltd. (PTML), for introducing barges in their operations to beat traffic and making Nigerian ports the destination of first choice.
He said that the introduction of barges would go a long way in easing the traffic congestion, adding that it would also make Nigerian ports more attractive.