In an article published in its June 2021 edition, the world-renowned logistics industry magazine “Port Strategy” of London, UK, commented on the recent developments in Onne Port where the global port operator ICTSI has made a major investment to expand Nigeria’s modern port capacity in the face of loud protests and attempts of legal obstacles by Intels Nigeria.
The Port Strategy article gives interesting insight into how the international logistics industry see the entrance of ICTSI into Nigeria and the protests of Intels. In broad terms, Port Strategy sees ICTSI’s entry into Eastern Nigeria’s Onne Port as very necessary introduction of competition and investments into a port too long dominated by vested interests protecting their monopolies. And it sees Intels’ reaction as a monopolist trying to maintain its market and pricing power in the face of new competition.
Port Strategy starts by pointing out that Onne Port – which is the only major modern port in Eastern Nigeria – has long been monopolized by Intels Nigeria for Oil and Gas cargo and West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) for containerized imports.
The article proceeds to argue that the monopoly has been combined with very aggressive pricing on the part of Intels towards Oil and Gas customers (Port Strategy refers to Intels being allowed to “print money”) and that this has been confirmed by Nigeria’s main oil and gas sector companies who are desperately looking for alternatives to Intels in order to reduce their supply base logistics costs which are “some of the highest in the world”.
On the containerized cargo side, which is the most important mode of imports for the Nigerian consumer, Port Strategy argues that West Africa Container Terminal, has enjoyed a monopoly without sufficient investments which is now resulting in lack of port capacity and very long waiting times for customers waiting for their cargo.
Port Strategy concludes with the following assessment: “ICTSI has clearly arrived in Onne Port when there is a manifest need for new competition. According to port users, it is a welcome change and one that represents progress in the nationwide drive to deliver competitive port and logistics services.’