In an important milestone for Nigeria’s port industry, Onne Multipurpose Terminal (OMT) has commenced container operations at Onne Port, Rivers State, thereby doubling the Eastern port’s modern container handling capacity and providing a catalyst to the region’s economic growth.

On May 2, MSC Floriana, a vessel belonging to the world’s biggest shipping line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), berthed at OMT located at Berths 9-11 at Federal Ocean Terminal, Onne Port. OMT offloaded 1297 containers.

MSC Floriana’s call marked the culmination of more than one year of preparations and investments by OMT. Head of Operations, OMT, Robert Uljan, said: “We are all very proud of the successful operation of the vessel.

“Our advanced cargo handling systems worked well and our operations and technical teams, all recruited from Rivers State, hit the ground running and performed very successfully. We are very confident we can build on this achievement and progressively ramp up performance over the quay and landside to the benefit of all of our customers, shipping lines and cargo owners,” he emphasised.

Chairman and President, ICTSI, Enrique Razon, commenting on the development, said: “These are just the first steps. We are bullish on the long-term prospects for the Nigerian economy and we are ready to invest significant funds in OMT. To-date, ICTSI has invested $35 million in state-of-the-art equipment, IT systems and personnel training.

The next step, explained, “will be major infrastructure works as well as investments in additional and bigger equipment totaling $100 million. We will progressively align OMT’s facilities and service capacity to the needs of the diverse customer base the terminal is intended to serve.”

Managing Director, OMT, Jacob Gulmann, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the Nigerian Ports Authority to realize this project.

“Berths 9-11 had been languishing, lying unused for the last decade. Now, in partnership with NPA, we are bringing the area to life, adding capacity and competition to Onne Port. This is sorely needed as the port is currently experiencing acute congestion with respect to container traffic. We are also very happy to be able to hire and train hundreds of talented employees during this period of challenges to the oil and gas sector which has hit the local communities particularly hard,” he added.

Source: Guardian