The West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) is quickly earning a reputation as the gateway to Eastern Nigeria and a strong alternative to ports in Lagos. Investment in the Phase 2 upgrade, due to commence within the next 18 months, will help meet volumes, which have grown consistently over the past three years.
“The Phase 2 upgrade includes the acquisition of three additional Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs) bringing the total in operation to five; 20 Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes (RTGs); three Reach Stackers; 13 terminal trucks and trailers and an empty container handler,” explained WACT’s Commercial Manager, Noah Sheriff.
“The upgrade will also include the installation of reefer racks with a 600-plug capacity, as well as a 13-hectare expansion and of our current yard, paving, a new workshop and a new terminal gate complex.”
The terminal is forecasting additional volume growth, as a growing number of shipping lines, importers and exporters develop confidence in WACT’s ability to handle their cargo. “Investment in Phase 2 will ensure that we are well prepared to handle this additional business in the future,” says Sheriff. “It will increase productivity and improve reliability of cargo delivery, whilst reducing port stays and vessel idle time. Together this will lead to greater customer satisfaction.”
High operational efficiency
In 2019, WACT spent USD14 million to acquire equipment including two Mobile Harbour Cranes, 14 specialized terminal trucks and two reach stackers. This first phase of investment last year resulted in high operational efficiency and set WACT apart from other ports in East Nigeria.
“Our vision is to make WACT the best performing container terminal in West Africa. We believe this vision can be achieved through active collaboration with the Government to reduce the security challenges faced by vessels in our waters, and improved road connectivity,” states WACT’s Managing Director, Aamir Mirza.
Gearless vessel handling
Since December 2019, WACT has been handling gearless vessels, which previously could only be handled at ports in Lagos. Several stakeholders have commended WACT for being proactive and for its long-term commitment to the Nigerian economy.
Talking frankly about WACT’s performance, Chief Gabriel Okonkwo, Chairman of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), Onne Port, said, “There has been a substantial increase in import volume and to measure up with that, they have acquired a lot of equipment to ease cargo clearance and we commend them for that because they are doing very well. They are keeping up with the demand, they can receive vessels, load and drop containers for examination, all at the same time.“