In a race to attract lucrative patronage, four major Nigerian ports find themselves embroiled in a fierce competition over the handling of Very Large Ships (VLS). The contenders in this maritime showdown include the newly inaugurated Lekki Port, alongside the longstanding Apapa Port and Tin-can Island Port, all nestled in Lagos, with Onne Port in Port Harcourt joining the fray.

The stakes are high, as the allure of larger vessels promises to draw in international shipping lines, bolstering the status and revenue of the ports involved. The battle commenced in 2020 when the West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria (WACT) at Onne Port made waves by welcoming the largest container ship to Nigeria at the time, the ‘Maersk Stadelhorn’. This monumental feat, coupled with subsequent achievements, underscores the strategic importance of efficient coordination and substantial investments in port infrastructure.

Not to be outdone, Lekki Port announced its own triumph with the arrival of the ‘CMA CGM Rabelais’, a vessel boasting impressive dimensions and cargo capacity. Similarly, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) proudly unveiled the largest-ever container vessel at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex, signaling a momentous milestone in the port’s history.

Meanwhile, Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, made headlines of its own by hosting the largest container carrier in its history, the ‘Kota Cantik’. This remarkable achievement underscores the commitment of NPA’s leadership to enhancing port infrastructure and operational excellence.

Amidst the flurry of announcements, Ports and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) at Tin-can Island port made a noteworthy contribution with the introduction of the ‘MV Great Lagos’, the largest Container-RORO (CON-RORO) vessel in the world. This groundbreaking addition further solidifies Nigeria’s position as a key player in global trade and logistics.

However, amidst the celebrations and accolades, maritime expert Charles Okoroefe sounded a note of caution. He urged government agencies to ensure that these vessels do not depart Nigerian ports empty-handed, emphasizing the importance of maximizing economic value. Okoroefe emphasized the need for a holistic approach to port management, addressing issues such as cargo evacuation, traffic congestion, and infrastructure development.

As the rivalry among Nigerian ports intensifies, stakeholders are reminded of the imperative to prioritize efficiency, sustainability, and economic viability. With each port vying for its share of the spotlight, the maritime landscape is poised for further transformation, ushering in a new era of prosperity and competitiveness in Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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