The Managing Director of West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria (WACT), Naved Zafar, has commended the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for installing a new scanning machine at the Onne Port Complex, Rivers State.

The scanner was acquired by the Federal Government in September 2021 and commissioned last Thursday by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, who said it would facilitate trade and reduce the importation of illicit goods.

Zafar, at the commissioning ceremony alongside other dignitaries at the port, said the scanner would aid manifest verification; Customs tariff collection and identification of contraband.

He said WACT, which is the largest container terminal operator in the eastern ports, would offer necessary support to NCS to optimise the benefits of the scanning machine.

“We are delighted with the commissioning of this scanner. I believe it has the potential of making a lot of difference by facilitating faster and easier delivery of cargo. We have long prepared for this. As part of our Terminal Upgrade and Expansion project, we have acquired sufficient cargo handling equipment at our terminal to improve the efficiency of the port and the new scanning machine will complement our effort in this regard,” Zafar said.

On the upgrade of WACT, he said it is on course following USD100 million investment for the phase two upgrade, which include the acquisition of three additional mobile harbour cranes, bringing the total in operation to five, 20 rubber tyre gantry cranes and three reach stackers.

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Others are 13 terminal trucks and trailers and an empty container handler, deployment of reefer racks with a 600-plug capacity as well as expansion of the current yard, new workshop and a new terminal gate complex.

Zafar said the terminal has acquired and deployed the new mobile harbour cranes and rubber tyre gantry cranes as well as installed the new reefer rack and the yard expansion work is on course. He said the terminal would complete the upgrade by the middle of this year.