It seems shippers in Nigeria are gradually turning to the largely neglected seaports in Delta and the Eastern flanks of the country. This is mainly due to the fact that facilities in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, are blighted by crippling logistic challenges.
At the moment, over 29,437,079 metric tons of cargoes arrived the country last week through the Eastern and Delta ports with bulk salt and frozen fish topping the import chart.
Bulk wheat alone recorded a total of 14,234,782 metric tons of cargo, about 48.4 percent of the total cargo throughput all of which occurred in the Eastern port regions alone with Calabar Port in Cross River State taking over 99 percent of the total, while a negligible balance came through Port Harcourt Port in Rivers State.
Recording 11,679,649mt of cargo that came into the country through the Eastern ports alone is bulk salt. No salt shipment came through the Delta port. A shipment of 15,000mt of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol, was recorded in the shipping documents of both Eastern and Delta ports.
It is closely followed by 3,524, 097 metric tons of frozen fish. Daily shipping position of the Port Harcourt Pilot District showed that bulk wheat recorded a total of 1,449 metric tons while 10,000mt of aviation fuel known as Jet A1 also came.
While 4,197 metric tons of frozen fish came through Delta ports, the balance of 3,519,900 came in through Port Harcourt port For containerized cargoes, 4,900 of container laden goods were brought in through the Eastern ports.
On export, the shipping position indicated that about 17,800 metric tons of crude oil were also exported through the Delta ports in Warri. A total of 14,926mt of steel product also recorded as import that came in through Delta port, as about seven vessels were involved in the affreightment of the cargoes.
A total of 21 vessels sailed into both ports. While six vessels sailed to Eastern flank of the ports, 15 went to Delta ports. For vessels carrying petrol, Rehdor, Intership, FSS, Amif and Matrix Pride moved petroleum products to Delta ports, M.V.Green, Guetamala, Frio Oceanic, Bold Voyager, M.T Richmond, M. V MSC Maria and Rig Majestic sailed to Port Harcourt.
The Eastern ports of the Nigerian Ports Authority however, comprises of Port Harcourt and Calabar ports while those of Delta are made up of Warri, Sapele and Koko ports.
In the mean time, Lagos ports still remains the hub of port activities in the country. The low import and export activities in the other ports are attributed to low and shallow channels and pirates’ activities.
Until recently there was a drop in the movement of vessels in and out of the Warri port. But shortly after the Federal Government commenced the dredging of the Escravos channel, port activities have peaked.
Besides the oil and gas logistics activities in the Onne area of Port Harcourt, the main port in Port Harcourt city played host to virtually all the cargo vessels. While Sapele and Koko ports are almost moribund, except for Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, formation and maritime Coordinating office of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA in Sapele port there is no serious port activities in Sapele port.
The low shallow in Calabar port has remain a major challenge as most vessel anchor at the sea while smaller vessels go back and forth to lighten her