Containerized, Bulk Cargo Haulage Spikes Growth at Ikorodu Lighter Terminal

As part of the efforts of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to further decongest the traffic gridlock on Apapa port axis, Hadiza Bala-Usman 

Hadiza Bala-Usman

Managing Director of NPA in February this year flagged off the first export consignment of manganese, a solid mineral resource from the Ikorodu lighter terminal to Apapa port.

This initiative has since resulted in the movement of almost 2,000 truck equivalents of containers and other bulk cargos from Apapa port access road by leading FMCG trading and manufacturing companies moving goods comprising mainly of solid minerals and agro commodity exports. Since then, the operations at the terminal have been on the high.

In 2017, the estimated cargo throughput in Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports according to reports from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)  was put at 67 per cent of the overall country’s’ imports and exports. The Lagos ports being the preferred ports, have been faced with the problem of delay in cargo evacuation, which has led to port congestion and huge traffic queues.

Several times, ‘cosmetic’ attempts have been made to clear the Apapa traffic, but as soon as the media attention dies down, the gridlock creeps back. It is estimated that the economy loses about N20 billion daily due to the gridlock, which is the country’s premier port

According to Edeme Kelikume, managing director and chief executive of Connect Maritime Services Limited, embracing intermodal logistic solutions such as the barge services moving cargo to and from Apapa to NPA Ikorodu Lighter Terminal would significantly contribute to solving part of the chaotic traffic situation that is currently been experienced in Lagos state in the past months and years.

Figures from the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), shows that container traffic statistics at the country’s sea ports have more than tripled since 2007.

‘’This ordinarily should be good news as it is an indication that the economy is expanding. However, in the case of Nigeria, this has become a challenge because the infrastructure to support this growth in cargo has actually deteriorated’’. He stated.

Globally, Nigeria is no longer a desired shipping destination because of the longer turnaround time for ships coming to the country. A 2018 overseas cargo and freight costs template showing the cost of shipping cargo from the United States to other destinations shows that cargo and freight costs from the New York to Nigeria are about the highest globally.

For instance, cargo and freight costs of a 20 feet container from New York to Apapa Port is $4,982 almost twice the cost of the same 20 feet container to South Africa which will cost just US$2,542. For a 40 feet container, the cost is US$7,436, which is almost twice the cost to ship a similar container to South Africa.

Reports from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that shipping emits less carbon than other transport modes and this has been demonstrated by one study after another.

Sea and Water’s report, ‘The Case for Water’, showed that increased water freight transportation can cut the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere by 80 percent and for each tone-km, inland shipping emits only 22 grams of carbon. Rail freight is ranked a close second-best, at 28 grams.


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