Calabar Port Complex has received its maiden Marguisa Shipping Line’s container vessel, 13 years since its concession.
The draft limitations on the channel was identified to be the reason for the lack of patronage of container liners.
The Calabar channel currently has a draft of 6.4 meters at high tide, but requires Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to complete the dredging to the advertised draft of 9.4 meters to attract regular and bigger tonnage.
General Manager of Ecomarine Terminals Limited (ECM), a terminal concessionaire in Calabar port, Diran Akorede, confirmed the receipt, saying the vessel, MV Boreas, came with both laden and empty containers and was securely anchored at ECM Terminals at about 1.37pm on Monday, September 23.
According to a statement on ECM’s website, the management and staff of the terminal, Marguisa Shipping Line, Hull Blyth Nigeria as well as the management and staff of Nigerian Ports Authority, Calabar Port were present to witness the event.
Akorede said, “The berthing of the container vessel at our facility on Monday was the crowning moment of the several marketing efforts to attract a liner service to Calabar over the years.
“In October last year, we had preliminary discussion with Marguisa representative on possibility of commencing calls to Calabar.
“To make the call viable to Marguisa, we made several concessions on rates and co-opted other stakeholders into the efforts followed with road shows to sensitise potential clients. The maiden call of the vessel was the outcome of such efforts spearheaded by Ecomarine in conjunction with Marguisa.”
According to Akorede, the terminal had “invested massively” on container handling equipment from inception of the concession, in preparation for receipt of container vessel, most of which he said have been idle ever since.
“We are ISO certified and have well documented processes to ensure transparency and efficiency in our service delivery.
“Our systems are fully automated and the facility is fully ISPS compliant. We also have paved stacking area that has remained unutilised over the years. For us, we have been prepared from the inception and therefore handled the discharge operations in the best professional manner.
“As a port, our pact with Marguisa is to provide and ensure efficient service delivery, quick turnaround for their vessel and incentive scheme to support their voyage profitability.
“For us, the pact remains as long as the vessel continue to call our terminal,” he said.
Akorede stated that ECM terminal is ready to receive more container vessels with its ultra-modern cargo handling equipment.
The ECM manager urged NPA to urgently complete the dredging of the channel to the advertised draft of 9.4m to ease the difficulty in attracting container vessels to the terminal.
According to the terminal, the vessel’s service is expected to commence with a “biweekly call to ECM Terminals Limited for the first few voyages and will thereafter metamorphose into a weekly service”.
The MV Boreas which was built in 2007, has length overall of 116.23 meters, gross tonnage of 6569 and net tonnage of 2874.