Story by Ibiyemi Seun
The SIFAX Group-led consortium, Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited, has assured the federal government and other stakeholders that it would turn around the fortunes of the Terminal B, Warri Old Port before long.
This assurance was given by the consortium’s Chairman, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi (MON), at the formal signing ceremony and handing over of Terminal B, Warri Old Port to Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Abuja.
Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited won the concession with a competitive bid of $100.78 million and would run the terminal for twenty five years. In April 2018, the company was announced the preferred bidder of the Warri Old Port, out of the seven other companies whose bids were evaluated.
The company also recently signed a contract with the Gambian government to operate an inland container depot in Banjul, the country’s state capital.
Afolabi said the combined industry and business experience and pedigree of all the members of the consortium gave him the confidence that the project would be another resounding success.
He further expressed his appreciation to the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Nigerian Ports Authority for the transparent manner that the process was conducted, right from the beginning.
He said, “This is a great news for us as a company to have led this consortium to win the concessioning of the terminal. While we are glad that we have emerged the concessionaire of the Warri Terminal, we are not unaware of the enormous responsibility this success has conferred on us.
“However, it is a familiar territory for us having operated the Terminal C at the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos, successfully in the last 12 years. We will fall back on the experience and expertise we have developed running the terminal to make a difference at the Warri Port. We have already begun mobilizing our team to hit the ground running as soon as possible. I want to assure that in no time, the fortunes of the Warri Port will change for the best.”
On his own part, Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group, Mr. Adekunle Oyinloye pledged that the company, noted for its adherence to international best practices and compliance with agreed convenants, will set new standards with the management of the new terminal.
He said, “BPE, NPA and other relevant government agencies should look forward to an efficient port management system when we formally take over the control of the terminal while the clients are in for an unparalleled customer-focused service delivery that will put them at the heart of our operations. We will also adhere strictly to the terms of the concession agreement too.”
Earlier in his speech, BPE Director-General, Alex Okoh noted that the objectives of the Federal Government in concessioning the port is to increase efficiency, improve service delivery, modernize port development, reduce the cost of shipping and clearing of goods at the ports and relieve the government of the burden of financing the sector, while urging Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited to focus on these objectives as they take over the terminal.
“Government expects nothing less than strict adherence to the terms of the concession agreement. Consequently, the pursuit of your business objectives must be tailored in a way that will also assist in the realization of these objectives. I know for sure that the company has both the financial muscle and capable manpower to make the terminal a beauty to behold”, he noted.