Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Anxiety as cargo throughput continues on downward trend since last year at ports

Since last, there had been a sustained drop in cargo throughput at virtually all Nigerian seaports. Business Hilights can authoritatively report this considering available statistics from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Cargo throughput is the average arrival of containers on a daily basis at ports and the statistics remains the surest way to determine the pendulum of import and export traffic at ports.

According to the figure secured from NPA, Vessels berth last month plunged to record low in 12 months as it dropped to paltry 4,025. In the same matter, Calabar Port is the most hit as records show that it is the least in outward cargo traffic

The above was further confirmed by the recently released data on shipping and ports related activities by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showing the number of vessels that berthed at all the ports dropped from 5,369 in 2013 to 4,025 in 2016, while the gross registered tonnage also dropped from 146,820,488 in 2014 to 122,186,758 in 2016.

Stakeholders are already worried as the reduction in shipping activities portends danger to the nation’s manufacturing sector as it indicates that fewer equipment and machinery are imported into the country.

Before now, maritime pundits had become tired of lamenting the level of inactivity at the ports, particularly the poor state of the access roads, high level of corruption, high tariff and the restriction of 41 items by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

But the core factor militating against businesses at the ports is the ban on 41 items which had dried up forex access, thereby causing stagnation.

The NBS report also revealed that a total of 19,833 vessels berthed at the various ports in the last three years. Similarly 543,842,425 tonnages were registered within the period under review. Year 2014 recorded the highest number of vessels berthed as well as tonnages registered while the least were recorded in 2016.

However, NBS added that “Tin Can Island Port handled most ships accounting for 33 per cent of total number of ships that berthed in all ports and 32 per cent of total tonnage registered in all ports”.

“It is closely followed by Apapa port, which accounted for 28 per cent of ships that berthed and 25 per cent of total tonnage registered and Onne port, which accounted for 15 per cent of ships that berthed and 30 per cent of total tonnage registered.

“Also, cargo traffic statistics revealed a total of 312,185,808 cargoes were recorded at all Nigerian ports within the period. 196,851,236 or 63 per cent of the cargoes were inwards while 115, 334572 or 37 per cent were outward.

“Similarly, Onne ports handled the most number of outward cargoes accounting for 80 per cent of total outward cargoes and closely followed by Delta and Apapa ports accounting for 10.63 per cent and 3.52 per cent respectively. Also, Calabar port accounted for 0.05 per cent to record the least,” it stated.

The number of passenger traffic within the period under review was put at 52,262, while the highest number of passenger traffic was recorded in 2013.

The number of vessels that berthed at the Apapa Port has been dropping gradually from 1,510 in 2013 to 1,097 in 2016, while the gross registered tonnage at the port peaked at 37,041,879 in 2014 and dropped to31,032,377 in 2016.

However, vessels that berthed at the Tin Can Island Port increased from 1,615 in 2013 to 1,774 in 2015, and later dropped in 2016 to 1,414 while the gross registered tonnage at the port peaked at 48,435,584 in 2015 but dropped to 40,674,982 in 2016.

Delta Port traffic dropped from 609 in 2013 to 433 in 2016, while the gross registered tonnage dropped from 8,687,160 in 2013 to 6,177,809 during the period.

Traffic dropped from 439 in 2013 to 287 in 2016 at Rivers Port, while the gross registered tonnage also dropped from 6,761,057 in 2014 to 4,560,844 last year.

Again, the volume of vessels that berthed at the Onne Port dropped from 847 in 2014 to 605 in 2016 while the gross registered tonnage at the port also dropped from 43,916,846 to 35,937,547 in the corresponding years.

In Calabar Port, traffic dropped from 373 in 2013 to 189 in 2016, while the gross registered tonnage which peaked at 4,087,599 in 2015 dropped to 3,803,199 last year.

A top official of the NPA who spoke to Business Hilights on grounds of anonymity said “Last year and early part of this year remained the worst in cargo traffic across the six ports of Nigeria” stressing that “As it is now, we at NPA do not want to discuss that because of loss of revenue we have been suffering.

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