Alhaji Mohammed Bulangu, Acting Managing Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited (PCHS), Nigeria’s leading indigenous port terminal operator and a concessionaire of the Terminal ‘C’ Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos has described the port concessioning in Nigeria as a great success.
In 2006, the Federal Government concessioned the management of seaport terminals in the country to private investors after a competitive bid that involved some renowned port terminal management companies around the world.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the port concessioning programme, Bulangu noted that the coming on board of the private investors has brought a great deal of improvement in service delivery, infrastructure development and modern equipment acquisition in the maritime industry.
Using the Ports & Cargo terminal as a case study, Bulangu said the myriad of challenges that the company faced at inception, including obsolete equipment, long delay of vessel at berth, abandoned cargoes, unwholesome activities of “wharf rats”, who stole and vandalised cargoes, among others, were frontally confronted, with incredible results to show ten years down the line.
He said: “It is 10 years already since we took over the operations of Terminal C, Tin Can Island Port. The said years have been event-full. The first few years were very tough and challenging. Since we took over the terminal on 11th May, 2006, we have however taken giant steps to improve on our operations by investing heavily on infrastructure and equipment. We have met all the obligations in our Terminal Development/Five Years Development Plan regarding infrastructural development and equipment acquisition.
“We have greatly improved the security situation in the port. As a result, loss or vandalism of cargo through the activities of “wharf rats” has been reduced to the barest minimum. The terminal capacity of 5000 TEUs at inception has been grown to 16,000 while technology adoption through the terminal operation and tracking system, OSCAR, has greatly improved service delivery efficiency.
“Ports and Cargo terminal has fully complied with and even exceeded obligations regarding acquisition of plants and equipment. For instance, we proposed to buy 3 ship-to-shore cranes but bought 7. We proposed to buy 6 rubber-tyred gantries (RTGs) but bought 10. Other equipment acquired over the years include 43 terminal tractors, 14 forklifts, 23 reach stackers, heavy-duty generating sets, tractors, among others. We also provided an imposing and befitting edifice for the Customs and other government regulatory agencies and we have a standard warehouse that can house about 8,200 metric tonnes of cargoes”, he said.
This massive investment that runs to millions of dollars in value, according to Bulangu, has transformed the hitherto decayed terminal into a modern and information technology-driven seaport that is comparable to any terminal around the world.
“Our terminal is a good yardstick in measuring the success of the well-thought out port concessioning programme of the Federal Government because of the huge transformation and the great economic benefits to both the government and the industry,” he added.