Seaports in Nigeria ~ Terminals and Theirs Operations


The quite number of seaports in Nigeria, which are mainly located in the southern part of the country. Why? You may want to ask.

seaports in nigeria

First, seaports are ports whose locations are close to the sea.

There are machines or instruments mostly ships are used to import goods from other countries into Nigeria as well as export goods from other countries also.

So seaports are located within the States that have their borders with the Atlantic Ocean.

States like Lagos, Rivers, Calabar, Delta and so on have their borders shared with the Atlantic Ocean.

No northern state have such borders, and that is why there are no seaports located in that area.

Seaports In Nigeria {All 6} in 2020

  • Lagos Port Complex
  • Tin can Island Port
  • Calabar Port
  • Delta Port
  • Rivers/Portharcourt
  • Onne Port

1.) Lagos Port Complex

This was established in 1914, located in Apapa, Lagos.

It is the biggest and largest seaport in the country, about 200 hectares of land.

It is also the busiest among other seaports in Nigeria as it is situated at the centre of Lagos State this seaport comprises of the following.

  • 19 berths for general cargo
  • 2 berths for bulk cargo
  • 6 berths for container handling
  • 1 berth for Roll-in-Roll-off
  • 5 terminal operators which are: Apapa bulk terminal, consortoll AP miller terminal and Greenview Development Nigeria Ltd and also Lilypond Inland container terminal

A bulk wheat grain into having a storage capacity of 76,600 tones, this port also has two logistics bases, they are:

  • Eko Support Services Limited and
  • Lagos Deep Offshores Logistics (LADOL) and eight jetties
  • The Apapa Lagos port serves as the major economic door to the nation.

2.) Tin Can Island Port

Tin can Island Port was established in 1975.

It is also situated in Apapa, it was opened for operation in the year 1977.

Like the Lagos Port Complex, this port also has five (5) terminals they are:

  • Port and Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML)
  • Tin Can Island Container Limited
  • Josephaham Port Services Limited
  • Port and Cargo handling Services Limited
  • Five Star Logistics Limited

Tin Can Island Port has a bearing of latitude 62 degree N and longitude of 30.23 degrees E.

Together with Lagos Port, they serve the western region of Nigeria.

Tin Can Island was birthed during an increase in the economic activities during oil boom.

Because of this, importation and exportation of good was on a high side. This resulted to port congestion, thereby making it necessary to build a new port on Tin Can Island as a means of decongesting the Port.

This port was then commissioned and christened Tin Can Island Port on October 14th, 1977.

Having a capacity of handling up to 10-16 vessels at once. The port occupies a total of 73 hectres of land.

The operations of the private terminals A, C and D started in May 10th 2006.

Terminal B was handed later in June 1st 2006 while Port and Terminal Multiservice Limited commenced its operation in September 2006.

However, other features of this port are.

  • Pilotage is 24 hours services
  • Tin Can Island Port handle various vessels ranging from 100m-260m
  • This port also handles diversified cargoes with each terminal Cargo operator operating in special forms of cargo; Dry and Wet bulk cargoes, Box-containerized Cargoes and Roro services
  • Fresh water wells dung to the depth of 250m supplies fresh water to the vessels at berth
  • Quick turnaround time of vessels
  • It also has closed circuit television – CCTV
  • Bunkering of vessels are undertaken by reputable oil companies.

3.) Calabar Port

This Port is the longest and oldest port in Nigeria located in the city of Calabar, Cross river State.

Cross river is Nigeria’s frontier to Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Sao Tome etc.

The Calabar Port has served as a major focus of trade internationally for the Eastern States of Nigeria.

It also serves as a natural habour for the Northern States.

Before the government took over the Calabar Port in 1969, this port has been operated by different shipping companies.

When the government took over the Port in December 1969 they vested it on the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).

The 3rd National Development Plan in 1975-1980 enabled the expansion and development of Calabar Port. The port facilities were upgraded to meet the increase demand of the economy.

After the modernization of this port, Calabar Port Complex was commissioned in June 9, 1979 with about 84km upstream from fairway buoy.

The port has a chanel of about 7m-9m deep and 13m draught, at turning basin and quay side.

With this, it allows vessels of 170m and 10,000-15,000 dead weight to stream inside the port with no obstacle.

The Calabar Port complex is made of the following features:

  • The old port, the new port and the dockyard
  • It has jurisdiction over crude oil terminals at Antam, Odudu Yoho, Qualboe
  • Jetties at Mclver, NNPC, Dozzy, NIWA, ALSCON, Northwest
  • Three terminals which are: INTELS Nigeria Limited, shoreline logistics Nigeria Limited, ECM Terminal Limited. These terminals are operated by world class terminal operators.

4.) Rivers Port Complex

This port is located in Port Harcourt and like every other port, it plays an important role in importation of goods into Nigeria as well as exportation to other countries.

However, it plays the ‘mother role’ to several jetties around her satellites.

It is one of the largest port-with oil and gas free zone in the world that supports exploration and production for Nigeria activities.

It is however not under the management of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA). But has two private terminal operators which are:

  • Port and Terminal Operators Limited (PTOL)
  • Bua Port and Terminal Nigeria Limited

Rivers Port Complex has its history to have evolved from one berths for coal exports to four berths for handling a cargo of mix import/export merchandise, other features of the port includes:

  • 16 tanks of 3,048 ton capacity of bulk oil installation
  • A conveyor belt and a pier holding the structure
  • 7 Stacking areas of 27,407.15 square meters size
  • 4 Arcon sheds with a storage capacity of 12,486.15 square meter size
  • A dockyard where electrical, marine and engineering services works. The dockyard is managed by a dockyard manager.

Rivers Port Complex offers a whole of services such as:

  • It monitors and ensures compliance of all terms and condition expressed in the Lease Agreement
  • It controls all the jetties around its satellites and also provide marine services to other ports
  • Capital and maintenance dredging are carried out by Bonny Chanel Company (BCC)
  • Planning and development of post infrastructure
  • Maintenance and enforcement of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE). Also this port comprises of the following:
  • Port of Portharcourt and Okrika Refined Petroleum Oil Jetty
  • Haastrup/Eagle Bulk Cement Jetty
  • Kidney Island Jetty and Macobar Jetty

5.) Delta Port

The delta port is one of the three major ports situated in the States producing oil and gas.

This port has survived on captive cargoes for years and as a result can generate its own cargo.

This port comprises of the ports of Warri, Burutu and Sapele.

And also the Petroleum Terminals of Escravos and Forcados.

It is also equipped with adequate modern facilities capable of handling all kinds of cargoes.

6.) Onne Port

This port also supports the exploration and production of Nigeria activities as one of the largest oil gas free zone port in the world.

It is also located in Rivers State near the Bonny River. Onne port is made up of 2 main facilities:

  • Federal Ocean Terminal and
  • The Federal Lighter Terminal

Having been designed as an oil and gas free zone by the Federal Government of Nigeria, more than 100 companies have been licensed to work at onne port.

It also serves as a hub port for oil and gas activities throughout West Africa and Central Africa.

A Brief History of Nigeria’s Seaports

Nigeria Seaports are authorized, operated and managed by the Nigerian Port Authority (N.P.A) established in 1954.

N.P.A is a government agency that operates and governs the seaports as well as serve as the essential spots with adequate equipments where the ships can dock and transport people or goods in and out of the country.

However, the Nigerian Ports Authority started its operation in April 1955. Only Lagos port and Port Harcourt port were managed by N.P.A. Other parts were being managed by some private organizations.

Apart from managing quay and berthing facilities and also cargo handling, more responsibilities were added by the initial law which are managing harbours and approaches to all the ports in the country.

However in 1963 the firm had started operating a cargo ship from Lagos to Portharcourt, from the year 1962-1968, the length of quays was expanded.

Warehouses and cargo handling equipments were also added.

After the civil war (1967-1969), however, some parts of Portharcourt port was damaged.

Leaving Lagos Port as the only port functioning at that time.

Then a new law emerged adding Burutu, Calabar and Warri ports to N.P.A, Calabar port (Burutu) was taken from UAC while Warri port was retrieved from John Holt. These port were now managed by N.P.A.

Not long after this, in 1973, Nigerian Port Authority entered an agreement with the World Bank for the finance and expansion facilities within the ports.

In the expansion of port facilities, the government spent over 190 million naira. A third Wharf was built in Apapa, Lagos.

Also two roll on, roll off facilities was used to complete Tin can Island port.

Facilities were also expanded in Warri and Calabar as well.

Final Note

I had the honors of doing my IT with Intels (a logistics firm) that oversees the day to day operation of Onne ports and i can tell you that seaports in Nigeria are one of the most interesting and diverse and educational places you can be in Nigeria.


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