Learn about the largest seaports in Nigeria and educate yourself on things to know about them.
A port refers to a maritime commercial facility that may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and also discharge passengers and cargo. Seaports are usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, however, some ports such as Hamburg, Manchester, and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access from the sea via a river or canal. As of today, the greatest growth in port development is being witnessed in Asia.
The Largest Seaports in Nigeria
The Asian continent has some of the world’s largest and busiest ports such as Singapore and the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan. In Africa, especially the West African subregion, Nigeria and the Benin Republic are two top competitors in the maritime business.
The two West African countries compete to be the Load Center, otherwise known as transshipment base, in West Africa. Unfortunately, Contonou has remained the haven for Nigerian importers.
Although about 60% of all the imports to West Africa are destined for Nigeria, what gets to our seaports is just about 10%. Simply put, the majority of all the shipment coming to West Africa are destined for Nigeria, but at the end of the day what gets to Nigerian ports directly is just around 10%.
The Largest Seaports In Nigeria
The greater amount of these cargoes is offloaded in neighboring ports located in Cotonou and some other West African states and from where they are transshipped to Nigeria.
This is mostly due to the fact that the seaports in Apapa and Tin Can are enormously overwhelmed. Seaports are usually located close to the sea where sea vessels, mostly ships bring in goods from other countries into Nigeria and export Nigerian goods to other countries as well. Nigerian seaports are under the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
These ports serve as the essential spots with facilities where ships can dock and also transport people or cargo to or from land. Note that Nigerian Seaports are mostly located in Southern Nigeria due to the presence of the Atlantic Ocean which serves as the means through which goods are mainly transported to and from Nigeria.
Northern Nigeria, however, has no seaports due to its lack of closeness to any large water body that is of high importance in world trade. With all these in mind, let’s discuss the various seaports in Nigeria
The number one seaport in Nigeria is the Lagos Port Complex which was established in 1914. The Lagos Port Complex is also known as the Port of Lagos and it is currently the largest seaport in Nigeria.
The Lagos Port Complex is located in the area of Apapa, Lagos and it sits on around 200 hectares of land. The port complex in Lagos has 19 berths for general cargo, 2 berths for bulk cargo, 6 berths for container handling and only 1 berth for Roll-on-Roll-Off operations. It has 4 terminal operators currently and these are; Apapa Bulk Terminal, AP Moller Terminal, Consortium and also Greenview Development Nigeria Limited which is a subsidiary of Dango Port Operations.
Among other facilities at this port, the Lagos Port Complex has a bulk wheat grain silo which has a storage capacity of 76,600 tonnes. The Lagos Port Complex also serves as the economic door to Nigeria. Together with the Tin Can Island Port also in Lagos, it serves the Western part of the country.
Tin Can Island Port (TCIP) is the second largest seaport in Nigeria. It was opened for operations in the year 1997 and was expanded when the Roro Port merged to it in the year 2006. In Nigeria as of today, the Tin can Island Port is ranked as the second busiest seaport after the Lagos Port Complex. Tin Can Island Port is also located in the Apapa area of Lagos and it is currently being operated by 5 terminal operators which are; Port and Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML), Josephdam Ports Services Limited, Tin Can Island Container Limited, Port & Cargo Handling Services Limited and also Five Star Logistics Limited.
The Calabar port is the third port on this list. It is a seaport located in the ancient city of Calabar, the capital city of Cross River state. The Calabar Port currently has 3 terminals namely; The New Port, The Old Port, and The Dockyard. It also boasts of several other crude oil terminals operated by 3 terminal operators which are; INTELS Nigeria Ltd, ECM Terminal Ltd, and Shoreline Logistics Nigeria.
The next Nigerian Sea Port on this list is the Rivers Port Complex. The Rivers Port Complex is one of the most important seaports in Nigeria and is located in the coastal Rivers State and comprises of the Port of Port Harcourt, Okrika Refined Petroleum Oil Jetty and also Haastrup/Eagle Bulk Cement Jetty, Ibeto Jetty, Kidney Island Jetty, Macobar Jetty, and Bitumen Jetty.
The Rivers port complex had been commissioned to 2 port operators. These are, Ports and Terminal Operators and BUA Ports and Terminal. This port is currently not being operated by The Nigerian Ports Authority like the other seaports in Nigeria. It is worthy of mention that Rivers state is one of the largest oils producing states in Nigeria.
The Delta Port is located in Delta state, South-South region of Nigeria. It is one of the 3 major ports located in the oil and gas producing States in Nigeria. Due to its location, it is a very important seaport in the country considering the importance of oil and gas to the economy of the country. The Delta port also includes the ports of Warri, Sapele, Burutu and also the petroleum terminals at Escravos and Forcados.
The Onne Port is located in Rivers State on the Ogu Creek near the Bonny River about 19 km away from Port Harcourt, the capital city of the state. The Onne port area is located in 3 different local government areas in Rivers State which are: Bonny LGA, Eleme LGA, and Ogu-Bolo LGA. The Onne port is made up of two major facilities which are the Federal Ocean Terminal and the Federal Lighter Terminal. The Onne Port has been designated as an Oil and Gas Free Zone by the Federal Government of Nigeria and as such, well over 100 companies have licenses to work at Onne Port.
Conclusion On List Of The Largest Seaports in Nigeria
These are the largest ports in Nigeria as of today. The handle all the major imports and exports of the country. It is no hidden facts that these facilities are currently overwhelmed which have led importers to divert their imports into Nigeria to neighboring ports in nearby countries from where they are then moved by road into the country.
This means that more work has to be done by the government of the country to increase the capacity of these ports as over 50% of imports destined for Nigeria never make it to our ports as a result of which the country is losing a lot of revenue that would have been generated from those imports in the form of import dues and other taxes.
According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, in the year 2017, the cargo throughput on Nigeria seaport was highest at the Onne Port. In that year alone, the Onne Port had cargo throughput of 25,836,246 (while inward was 1,947,347, outward was 23,888,899). The Onne port was followed by Apapa Port with 18,909,238 (inward was 17,523,313, while outward was 1,385,925) while the Tin Can Island Port was third with 15,520,925 (inward was 14,623 and outward was 1,385,925)
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