News: Mixed reactions trial berth of MV Lady Jane, ‘largest vessel’, at Onne port in Nigeria


The berthing of MV Lady Jane, the largest container vessel with 50 per cent agricultural commodities at the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) at Onne Port, Rivers State has continued to generate mixed reaction from stakeholders in the Maritime industry.

While the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), is excited about the feat promising to consiladate on the growth of container vessel traffic in the eastern ports, other stakeholders in the sector are of the opinion that is premature for the authority to be beating its chest on the berthing of the vessel.

According to, MV Lady Jane, with a length of 295 metres and a draft of 12 metres, berthed for the first time in Nigeria on Wednesday at about 3pm.

READ: Africa: Nigerian ports cheaper to berth container vessels than Ghana, Togo says Ports authority boss

According to NPA, the landmark is that the vessel, which sailed in from Majuro in the Marshall Islands, is discharging 840 TEUS and loading 1,060 TEUS, 50 per cent of which are agricultural commodities, including cashew nuts, sesame seed, cassia tora seed and others.

Earlier this year, Onne Port received the first export-laden barge exporting 120 TEUs of cocoa to Belgium via Cotonou.

Whilst the historic berthing of the MV Maersk Stadelhorn, a 300 metres LOA container vessel on August 15, 2020 tested the navigability of the channel, MV Lady Jane has proven the capability of the channel for sustained container vessel traffic, NPA stated.

According to the authority, this is a testament to its unwavering resolve to promote exports and support the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria at positioning the non-oil sector as a revenue earner.

The authority said, although, Onne Port Complex has traditionally been known as a logistics hub for Oil and Gas services, the implementation of fresh initiatives deployed by the Bello Koko administration had resulted in a 30 per cent increase in container traffic at the close of the year 2021.

Speaking to stakeholders who came to welcome the vessel, the NPA Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, who was represented by the Port Manager, Stanley Yitnoe, said the milestone suggests that the initiatives of the authority geared towards repositioning the eastern ports for performance are yielding results.

He added that Onne Port Complex is fast becoming an attraction for container vessel traffic.

“We cannot afford to rest on our laurels, we must continually strive to surpass stakeholders’ expectations,” he said.

Commenting further, the Managing Director commended the pilots for the professionalism demonstrated by the effortless and safe berthing of the vessel.

However, the arrival of MV LADY JANE did not generate the same excitement from stakeholders in the sector.

According to, Maritime stakeholders in Nigeria are piqued with the unbridled funfair at which the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA rolled out the drums to celebrate the berthing and handling of MV LADY JANE, a 5,000 TEUs container vessel, which came to the WACT Terminal in Onne Ports Complex, to discharge only 840 TEUs, describing the development as mere celebration of mediocrity.

A good number of logistics service providers seem visibly embarrassed that the NPA would regard such development as a milestone at a time other ports in the sub region are handling box carriers more than twice the carrying capacity of MV LADY JANE. “If Nigeria is projecting to emerge as hub port for the West and Central African sub region over and above our West African neighbours like Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic, whose seaports currently handle in excess of 12, 000 to 14,000 TEUs, what then are we celebrating?, a cargo consolidator based in Port Harcourt asked our correspondent.

The stakeholders have also argued that MV LADY JANE, with an overall length of 295 metres and draft of 12 metres, could be grouped into the class of those WAFMAX vessels that had been calling at container terminals at the Lagos Ports Complex in Apapa, and WACT in Onne. Why the noise “over the largest container vessel ever to call at Onne Port”, they quipped.

One of the service providers, who pleaded anonymity said: “The delivery of 840 boxes from a 5,000 TEU vessel is and cannot be a game-changer because a bigger vessel of over 9, 000 TEUs was handled at the same port last year, though at a different terminal. Perhaps what might be of significance is that the vessel sailed off with 1,060 TEUS of agricultural produce comprising cashew nuts, sesame seed and mineral ores among others, which represents a positive outflow of fully laden containers.”

Recall that the successful handling of Maersk line MV Stardelhorn on August 15, 2020, with a length overall of 300 metres, width of 48 metres, received at the Federal Ocean Terminal FOT, Onne had a capacity of 10,000 TEUs, remains the biggest container carrying vessel to visit Nigerian waters.

The stakeholders therefore argued that popping champagne on the visit of a vessel half the size and carrying of MV Stardelhorn, two years after, is tantamount to celebrating mediocrity or someone is just trying to pump his chest when there is absolutely no need for that.

Speaking at the colourful reception to welcome MV Lady Jane, Port Manager, Onne Ports Complex, Stanley Yitnoe, who represented the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said that the milestone signposts the fact that the initiatives of the NPA tailored towards repositioning the Eastern ports for productivity are yielding results and that Onne Port Complex is fast becoming an attraction for container vessel traffic. Obviously, more work is needed.



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