Nigerian ports recorded a downward trend in operational activities in the third quarter of 2018 as the number of vessels that called at the ports dropped from 1,045 in the corresponding period of 2017 to 969, showing a decrease of 7.3 percent.
This information is contained in the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) 2018 third quarter operational performance.
According to the report, the gross registered tonnage of vessels completed stood at 31,747,589, representing a drop of 7 percent over the corresponding period of 2017.
Similarly, container and vehicle traffic also recorded negative growth in the review period as container throughput stood at 368, 976 TEUs, showing a drop of 9.9 percent from 409,454 TEUs while vehicle traffic stood at 55,963 units, a decrease of 27 percent from 76,626 units recorded in third quarter of 2017.
However, despite the decrease in ship traffic, the port recorded a marginal increase of 0.5 percent in cargo throughput with 18,336,786 metric tons over the 18,257,730 metric tons handled in the third quarter of 2017. The increase, according to the NPA report, was due to increase in service boat operations.
A breakdown of the cargo throughput within the review period showed that Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment stood at 5,574,845 metric tons, a slight increase of 0.4 percent over 5,551,151 metric tons recorded in the corresponding period of 2017. General cargo recorded stood at 2,113,578 metric tons, an increase of 43.3 percent over the 1,474,669 metric tons handled in the third quarter of 2017.
Dry bulk stood at 2, 444,687 metric tons, a decrease of 8.3 percent from 2, 666,953 metric tons while refined petroleum stood at 4, 228, 720 metric tons, a decline of 8.4 percent from 4, 616, 155 metric tons over the third quarter of 2017.
Commenting on the report, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman said there is an ongoing investigation and study on the state of port infrastructure and cost competitiveness of Nigerian ports compared to other major ports in West Africa as part of effort to increase traffic at the ports.
The NPA MD also reiterated the management’s commitment to accountability, efficiency and provision of world class service to port users.
“As industry continue to evolve, our internal structures and processes will be strengthened to meet modern day demands,” she said.
She stated that the review of the port concession agreement was a major step taken in that regard as it is expected to address all grey areas in the agreement while enhancing the authority’s monitoring and compliance functions.
“The target is to make all our ports viable, competitive and conform to the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government. With the commitment exhibited by NPA management, it is hopeful that the downward trend in port activities would soon be reverse,” she said.