From left: Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority; Onari Brown, Executive Director, Administration, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited Capt. Ibraheem Olugbade, and Executive Director, Operations, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, Tobi Afolabi, during the donation of the office equipment to the Nigerian Ports Authority in Lagos, recently.

Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited PCHS, operators of Terminal C, Tin Can Island Ports Complex Lagos, has said it has done well in terms of deploying barges for the movement of cargo, thus debunking claims in some news reports that the terminal is not efficient in its barge operations.

In another development, the company has said it is sad over the recent setting on fire of a section of the Marina, Lagos headquarters building of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA by some hoodlums, who came on the heels of the #END SARS protests.

Executive Director, Administration of the company, Capt. Ibraheem Olugbade, who recalls that many terminal operators have adopted barge as an alternative option for cargo transfer in view of the deplorable access roads that have made transfer through the road a nightmarish experience, insists his organisation has done very well in this regard.  

According to him, contrary to these misguided reports, Ports & Cargo terminal is the number one in the handling of barges at the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos, going by the volume of cargoes and the investment made in cargo handling equipment.

He said: “It is not right for the terminal to be accused of not doing well in barge operations. The terminal does an average of 800 TEUs through the barge on a monthly basis while its dwelling time is just some days. We have invested in barges and some new equipment that guarantee improvement in our operations.

“Due to the reliable and efficient barge operations at our terminal, the empty and export containers of MSC from other terminals always find their way to Ports & Cargo terminal.

“The major challenge is that not much is happening in terms of cargo transfer through the road. The roads are not accessible. The congestion is unbearable. All the adjoining roads and streets around the ports are blocked. Trucks stay for weeks just to access the terminals. Even those who load in the terminal find it difficult to exit.  Ports and Cargo can’t be blamed for this.”

It was gathered that being a solution-driven business, the parent company of PCHS, SIFAX Group, invested billions of naira in a new bonded facility at Ijora, Lagos in order to decongest the ever-busy Lagos port complex.

On port automation, Olugbade said the company was in the test phase of the process and would launch its online payment platform by January 2021.

He further pledged the readiness of the terminal as well as its parent company, SIFAX Group in finding a lasting solution to the logistics problem bedeviling the sector, adding that a speedy completion of the ongoing reconstruction of the access roads will bring the needed relief to all port users.

Meanwhile, the company has donated some office equipment to NPA to enable it cushion the effect of the fire incident through which several cars, operational vehicles and office equipment were destroyed.

The office equipment donated by the SIFAX Group subsidiary include 10 desktop computers, 10 printers, 10 UPS and two large photocopy machines.

Also speaking at the formal presentation ceremony of the items which was held at the NPA headquarters, Marina, Lagos, Captain Olugbade, said the donation was meant to help the agency achieve minimal disruption to its operations as a result of the huge losses it suffered.

He said: “We are saddened by the level of destruction inflicted on NPA by the hoodlums. As a company, we still can’t fathom any justifiable reason behind the heinous act. This donation is a fulfillment of the promise made during the condolence visit. It is our hope that these items will help the agency get back on its feet.”

In his response, NPA’s Executive Director, Marine & Operations, Onari Brown, who received the equipment on behalf of the management, expressed appreciation to the terminal operator for the kind gesture.