Lagos - Nasir Mohammed, Port Manager of the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, said on Monday that the port had a cargo throughput of 1.9 million tonnes in the last quarter of 2012.
Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that container throughput for the period was 145,970 tonnes, just as the number of vehicles imported was 387.
The ports manager said that the port was operating under capacity and had not been receiving enough patronage in terms of container and cargo traffic.
``We cannot say that we have enough. We are aggressively looking out for more in the sense that we have a lot of facilities, we have a lot of capacity; in fact on the same containers issue, right now we are operating at under capacity.
``The terminal has more space to accommodate more containers but of course the containers have not been coming at that speed.
``Generally, you will also agree with me that there has been a downturn in cargo traffic, especially container traffic into Nigeria, it is not just a recent happening, for the last year and thereabout.’’
Mohammed identified global meltdown which had affected traffic of cargo all over the world as one of the reasons for the downturn.
Other factors, according to him, are the monetary policy of the Federal Government, issues with the importation of fuel and associated factors, the country’s security situation and bank’s lending regulations.
He said that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the various terminal operators had been renovating facilities inside the ports.
Mohammed added that this was to ensure that more traffic was accommodated and efficiency was introduced in cargo discharge inside the ports.
``For the terminal operators, they have been doing their own respective renovations like the container terminals; they are increasing the yard area for stacking of containers.
``They are also improving in terms of bringing in a lot of equipment, plants and equipment to facilitate improved cargo delivery.
``Well, actually, it’s in line with the agreement, the lease agreement that was entered into with the terminal operators,” Mohammed said.
The ports manager also told NAN that the government’s agreement with terminal operators required that the latter undertook various developmental plans to improve their services yearly.
He said that the NPA was also dredging the ports to improve the draft of both the channel coming in and also at the quay side, adding that, the dredging work was limited so as not to affect the quay structure.