On Monday, September 23, Calabar Port received MV Boreas, a container vessel owned by the Spain based Marguisa Shipping Line after several years of not having container calls. The vessel berthed and discharged its cargo at Eco Marine (ECM) Terminal.
Mr Diran Akorede , the General Manager, ECM Terminal Limited, in this interview tells TNMN the backstory. How the transaction began , details of the vessel and the readiness of the terminal to take on more container vessels. He also calls for the immediate dredging of the port channel to the advertised depth and for 30% rebate for vessels calling at Calabar.
MV Boreas, a container vessel berthed yesterday at your terminal sir. What’s the backstory? Tell us how this came about.
The berthing of the container vessel at our facility yesterday was the crowning moment of the several marketing efforts to attract a liner service to Calabar over the years.
The Port as you may be aware is plagued by the challenge of low draft which is due to the failure of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to dredge the channel to the advertised draft of 9.4m and since Shipping has evolved to bigger tonnages requiring deeper draft, the port was seriously constrained. However, in October last year, we had preliminary discussion with Marguisa Shipping Line 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 sensitize potential clients. The event of yesterday was the outcome of such efforts spearheaded by Ecomarine in conjunction with Marguisa
What are the details of the vessel? The Length Overall (LOA), Draft, and the weight of cargo it brought?
The vessel has LOA of 116.23m, GT 6569 and NT of 2874.The vessel was built in 2007. She carried both laden and empty containers and securely anchored at ECM Terminals at about 13.27 HRS.
Did this container call demand extra preparation on your part as the handling company?
For us as a Terminal, we invested massively on container handling equipment from inception of the concession most of which has 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 in any modern port of recognition.
How long will this pact with the Marguisa Shipping line last?
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.
How ready is your organisation for the call of more container vessels?
The truth is that we have invested and built capacity far beyond the current level of cargo traffic and our ability to take on other vessel calls is very much visible. As a multipurpose Terminal, we have invested on an integrated automated delivery system for bulk cargo and systems and processes including equipment for efficient service delivery
What critical support would you require from the NPA in future calls? What should be put in place for smoother transactions in future?
Simple. NPA should as a matter of urgency complete the dredging of the channel to the advertised draft of 9.4m to ease the difficulty in attracting container vessel to the terminal
NPA should also introduce a more effective incentive scheme such as the 30% rebate hitherto in place before the concession. The road contract from Idukpani Junction through Ikot Ekpene to Aba already awarded to Julius Berger should be completed .