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Onne multipurpose terminal opens for business, handles first container vessel 

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Abiola Seun

In an important milestone for Nigeria’s port industry, Onne Multipurpose Terminal (OMT) has commenced container operations at Onne Port, thereby doubling Eastern Nigeria’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.

“We are all very proud of the successful operation of the vessel,” underlined Robert Uljan, Head of Operations, OMT.

“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.

OMT, a subsidiary of the global port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), is ideally placed to serve shipping lines and Nigeria’s importers and exporters.

Backed by a financially strong investor, OMT is a state-of-the-art facility with 750 meters of deep-water quay, 22 hectares of yard area, two of the biggest mobile harbour cranes in Nigeria, ample yard equipment and the latest IT systems powering operations and planning.
In fact, OMT will be one of the first terminals worldwide implementing a cloud-based terminal operating system.

Enrique K. Razon, Chairman & President, ICTSI, commenting on OMT’s debut noted: “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 USD35 million in state-of-the-art equipment, IT systems and personnel training. The next step,” he elaborated, “will be major infrastructure works as well as investments in additional and bigger equipment totalling USD100 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.”

Onne is located in Nigeria’s Eastern region which is already an oil and gas powerhouse and is now fast emerging as a logistics hub, taking its place alongside Lagos as a key gateway to all of Nigeria.

To spur Onne’s growth as a major multipurpose port, OMT plans to invest in further container handling equipment, IT, oil and gas and other general cargo handling equipment, warehouses, workshops, better access roads and modern health and safety facilities and processes.

Following OMT’s opening, Jacob Gulmann, Managing Director, OMT, commented:

“It has been a pleasure to work with the Nigerian Ports Authority to realize this project. Berths 9-11 had been languishing, lying virtually 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.”

OMT is now operating on 24/7 basis with a succession of vessels scheduled to call. The second vessel to berth, hot on the heels of MSC Floriana, was Pacific International Line’s 3900TEU capacity Kota Sejarah.

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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