The Nigerian Ports Authority has said that 78.5 million metric tonnes of cargo were handled between January and 2020 against the 80.2mmt handled in the comparative period of 2019, representing a decrease of 2.2 per cent.
Also, the electronic call-up application, Eto, takes effect today.
According to statistics on ports activities released by the agency on Friday, Nigeria’s six major seaports recorded sharp decline in all Key Performance Indicators, as cargo volumes recorded 2.2 per cent decline for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to the figures recorded in the comparative period of 2019.
The six seaports – Lagos Ports Complex Apapa, Tin Can Island Ports Complex, Onne and Rivers Ports both in Rivers State as well as Calabar and Delta Ports – also recorded sharp reduction in their vessel and container traffic to the tune of 6.6 per cent and 9.5 per cent respectively.
Also, 3, 972 vessels with a gross registered tonnage of 125.1mmt called at the ports within the review period against the 4,251 vessels with a GRT of 138.6mmt handled in the previous year.
The agency said the figure represented a decline of 6.6 per cent while the container traffic stood at 1.6 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units as against the 1.8 million TEUs recorded in 2019, which represented a decline of 9.5 per cent.
The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Usman, blamed the decline on the downturn in the global economy occasioned by the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease, which compelled many countries, including Nigeria, to lock down for several months to curtail the spread of the virus.
She, however, assured that the authority under her watch was doing everything humanly possible to make the nation’s seaports more efficient and globally competitive to achieve the hub status for West and Central Africa.
The MD cited the deployment of electronic call-up system, which officially takes effect today, February 27, 2021, for trucks and other articulated vehicles that lift and drop consignments at the port to curb the perennial traffic congestion on port access roads, thus making the seaports inefficient and cumbersome to operate in.
Under the new system, NPA established eight truck parks with a capacity of over 3,000 for a start and also developed an app codenamed ‘Eto’ in which truck drivers are expected to download and log to be called in from the parks into the ports on first come first served basis to pick and drop cargo as the case may be.
NPA has also directed shipping lines to develop empty container bays as part of measures to curb the menace whereby trucks laden with empty containers are parked on port access roads, thus worsening the congestion on the roads.
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