- Operations Training Coordinator, West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria (WACT), Simon Eneh (left), Managing Director, Naved Zafar, Head of Operations, Sulaiman Dalabieh, Procurement Manager, Kingsley Dike, and Executive Assistant to the Managing Director, Olaowei Okara, in front of WACT’s six new RTG cranes at the Onne Port Complex in Rivers State
By Anthony Nwachukwu
APM Terminals’ West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria (WACT) has acquired six more state-of-the-art Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) to enhance service delivery at its terminal at the Onne Port in Rivers State.
This latest drive in its ongoing consolidation of operations puts it effectively as the best equipped terminal in the Eastern Ports, bringing the total number of RTGs to 14, apart from its four Mobile Harbor Cranes and several other cargo handling equipment, including Reach Stackers, terminal trucks and empty container handler.
Receiving the new RTGs, alongside other senior management staff of the company, WACT Managing Director, Naved Zafar, explained that the new cranes would increase yard capacity, improve vessel operations at the terminal and fast track cargo delivery.
According to him, “for the terminal operator, a crane is like a baby. Naturally, we are very happy to welcome this baby to the APM Terminals/WACT family.
“We already have eight RTGs and it is good to see that these six additional RTGs have arrived in good time for proper testing and commissioning. We have been recruiting new operators, and have trained them very well, so they are very ready and excited to operate these cranes.”
Zafar disclosed that the new cranes were part of the terminal’s $100 million investment upgrade, which includes the acquisition of additional Mobile Harbour Cranes, RTGs, Reach Stackers, terminal trucks and trailers, and an empty container handler.
Others include the deployment of reefer racks with a 600-plug capacity, as well as expansion of the current yard, new workshop and a new terminal gate complex.
He explained that “the eastern Nigeria market is projected to grow. Therefore, it is important that infrastructure keeps pace with the projected volume growth.
“This is why APM Terminals is investing over $100 million in WACT for new equipment and yard expansion, so as to keep pace with market growth and better serve our customers in East Nigeria and beyond.”
Also, the Commercial Manager of WACT, Noah Sheriff, said the six new RTGs will increase the overall terminal capacity and improve service delivery for both liner and landside customers, adding that terminal growth was due to WACT’s ability to provide premium services to customers.
“One of our challenges currently is high yard density due to high import volume, so these new arrivals will give us the opportunity to continue handling the strong volume growth we have seen throughout this year,” Sheriff said.
“We changed our quayside mode of operations last year from ship gear to Mobile Harbor Cranes and this year we are transforming our main yard from reach stacker to RTGs operations.
“Our e-commerce capabilities coupled with the ongoing upgrade project, which are key milestones in our transformation journey, has undoubtedly set us apart, as we offer products second to none in the east Nigeria market.” the WACT Commercial Manager said.
Meanwhile, the Senior Project Manager of APM Terminals, Rutger ten Thij, said a dedicated engaged project team was working with several global contractors to realise the different critical milestones in the ambitious project.
He noted the role of collaboration in the progress of the upgrade project, describing teamwork as the “keyword for proper timely handover from all the new assets to operations.”
WACT, which started commercial operations in 2006, is the first Greenfield container terminal in Nigeria to be built under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Located within the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne Port, Rivers State, it is owned and operated by APM Terminals and, over the years, has grown to become the most efficient gateway to markets outside the Lagos area.