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By NBF News
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By Godfrey Bivbere
Cargo throughput handled in the Nigerian Ports increased from 74,910,284 metric tones in 2010 to 82,763,384 metric tones in 2011 indicating a 10.5% increase while ship traffic also increased by 7.35 percent last year.

A breakdown from available statistics made available to Vanguard showed that Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment in the year under review stood at 22,277,883 metric tones a growth of 15% over the 2010 figure of 19,369,047metric tones.

General cargo shipment in 2010 increased from 9,047,030 metric tones to 13,284,965 metric tones in 2011 reflecting a 46.8% increase while the Dry Bulk Cargo increased from 11858,121 metric tones in 2010 to 12,877,468 metric tones in 2011 reflecting an 8.5% increase.

In a  statement,the General Manager in charge of public affairs, NPA, Chief Michael Ajayi, said that  refined petroleum in the year under review was 21,527,299 metric tones reflecting an increase of 19.3% over the 2010 figure of 18,047,842 metric tones.

Ajayi noted  that laden container throughput was 817,246 TEU,S amounting to 22.2% increase over the 2010 figure of 668,697 TEU,S while the empty container in the year under review was 596,030 TEU,S reflecting a 29.7% increase over the 2010 figure of 459,474 TEU,S.

Similarly, vehicle traffic in 2011 was 231,423units showing a 23.3% increase over the 2010 figure of 187,635units.

It was  further noted that the remarkable improvements witnessed in the ports could be attributed to the improved port infrastructural developments and rehabilitation that were undertaken by the Management of Nigerian Ports Authority.

The authority's spokesman pointed out that the Managing Director of the NPA Omar Suleiman has continued to reiterate the commitment of the authority to be the hub in west and central Africa by embarking on improved provision of marine services and expansion of existing port facilities in order to accommodate the increased vessel traffic into the Nigerian Ports

To this end, two deep sea ports are scheduled to come on stream at Lekki, Lagos state and Ibaka in Akwa ibom State. With the wreck removal campaign nearing completion while capital and maintenance dredging ongoing, the Ports will witness further increase in 2012, he noted.

As for the number of ships that called at the nation's port in 2011, Ajayi explained that the number of Ocean going vessels completed stood at 5,327 reflecting a 7.35% increase over the total figure of 4,962 in 2010.

The Nigerian Ports Authority in fulfilling its obligation of planning, development and maintenance of port infrastructure and provisions of common user facility as laid out on the concession agreement has continued to undertake the massive reconstruction of quay walls, rehabilitation of Harbour moles, access roads and sidings, he pointed out.

Also the Joint venture agreements with consortiums of Channel Management companies for the dredging and maintenance of our channels are ongoing while the removal of critical wrecks has ensured that draught requirements for safe navigation of oil and gas tankers as well as big vessels were achieved.

Already 80% of this effort has been accomplished
He quoted Suleiman to have reiterated the commitment of the authority in expanding existing port facilities, developing new ports   and develop the necessary infrastructure to make Nigerian Ports the hub in the West and Central African Region.