Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA)

Mission statement

To ensure the efficient management of port operations.


Times have never been better for the NPA. We have a stable and supportive environment in which to operate, and are continuing to upgrade and improve our facilities, ensuring that we meet the challenges of the new millennium.
We live in dynamic and changing times, and the NPA is committed to providing the infrastructure and support services to deal with this. As Managing Director, I feel a duty to further enhance our potential to become the leading port state in the whole of Africa.

The Nigerian Ports Authority will address all its vigour and energies into providing a first class port service for importers and exporters alike. We intend to further secure our position as not only the gateway to Nigeria’s economy, but to provide an efficient and cost effective route into Western and Central Africa and beyond.


Nigeria has a long and proud seafaring heritage which has played an integral role in the development of Western Africa. With this in mind, the Nigerian Ports Authority was established in 1954 to provide an integrated approach to national ports administration.
Since then NPA has made tremendous progress and now controls 8 major ports - excluding oil terminals - with a cargo handling capacity of 35 million tonnes per annum. These ports, over the past decade, have accounted for around 99 per cent by volume and 95 per cent by value of the An important new facility is currently under construction at Onne. This is the strategically located Federal Ocean Terminal, which, when completed, will be the largest and most modern of its type in Africa. This multi-purpose port is designed to handle exports from Nigeria’s petro-chemical industry as well as having berths for general cargo, container vessels, RoRo’s and bulk cargo ships.

Since 1992 the operations of NPA have been run on a commercial basis, although the company remains government owned and operates under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transport with responsibility for providing specific ports and harbour services for the Country’s maritime industry.

This commercial realism places far greater emphasis upon customer requirements in terms of facilities and standards of service offered. The NPA presently has a series of initiatives to further improve service, including ventures with private companies, and the introduction of more efficient working practices. With this new and more productive approach, the NPA intends to extend its client base and throughput both in terms of cargo and number of vessels. It is this kind to innovative thinking that has become the hallmark of the Nigerian Ports Authority during the past few years.


  1. The NPA provides the gateway to West and Central Africa, through 8 major ports strategically located along the coastline and estuaries of the most important navigable rivers.
  2. These ports account for some 99 per cent by volume and 95 per cent by value of the country’s total imports and exports.
  3. The ports have a highly developed infrastructure and efficient, modern methods of cargo handling and freight management.
  4. Many of the ports and terminals are directly geared to the requirements of major multinational companies in essential industries such as oil, gas, and steel production. This helps to ensure stability and long-term commitment.
  5. Every aspect of cargo handling, storage and transshipment is provided for - from bulk commodities and containers to general goods and foodstuff.
  6. Nigeria is the largest and most developed economy in West Africa with a trade heritage extending back over many centuries and now uniquely placed to provide trading and investment opportunities, unrivalled on the African continent.

Major NPA installations

The eight major ports controlled by the Nigerian Ports Authority provide some 93 general cargo berths, 5 RoRo berths, 7 bulk solid berths, 11 bulk liquid cargo berths, 63 buoy berths and numerous private jetties. Cargo storage facilities include 63 transit sheds, 22 back sheds, 4 arcon sheds and over 40 warehouses with a total storage area of over 460, 400 square metres.

Also available in the ports is a fleet of 54 harbour craft and over 600 different types of cargo handling equipment. Apapa Port Complex is Nigeria’s largest and most important port and comprises:

  • Apapa Quays: mainly handles wheat and bulk cement, utilising pneumatic elevators and grab-bucket equipment. Silo storage capacity up to 76,000 tonnes. Also handles passenger traffic for West African ferry services.
  • Third Apapa Wharf Extension: provides over 1000 metres of container berths which can accommodate four to six container ships at the same time; over 500 metres of multi-purpose berths which can handle three RoRo vessels at once, four jetties for service craft and tugs, and covered storage space of 6,400 square metres. Well served by road, rail and water transport.
  • Bulk Vegetable Oil Wharf: mainly used for the discharge of vegetable oil, can be used by vessels up to 152 metres long and 7.9 metres draught.
  • Atlas Cove Oil Terminal: handles discharge via two berths. Berth 1 is 70 metres by 12 metres and can handle up to 35,000 dwt vessels. Berth 2 is 35 metres by 14 metres and can accommodate up to 500 dwt vessels.
  • Ijora Wharf:122 metres long and equipped with conveyor belts for handling dry cargo. Capacity: 71 tonnes per hour. Handles coal, bulk cement, clicker/gypsum, gravel, frozen fish/meat, fertiliser and general cargo.
  • Fish Wharf: 115 metres quay with transit cold store of 1,500 tonnes used for frozen fish, shrimp and meat.
  • Apapa Petroleum Wharves: Comprises two wharves, one for ocean going tankers (quay length 177 metres) and one for coastal tankers (quay length 76 metres). Provide facilities for the discharge and loading of petroleum products with direct pipeline connections between the various petroleum products marketing companies and the wharves.
  • Container Terminal: Located at the third Apapa Wharf extension and covering an area of 44 hectares the terminal has an installed capacity of 22,000 TEUs. Served by six designated container berths with a quay length of 250 metres. The container terminal possesses excellent plants and equipment designed for modern operations.
  • Tin Can Island Ports: Provides 11 berths including seven break-bulk general cargo berths and one dry bulk cargo berth, as well as 12 mooring buoys. The total quay length is over 2000 metres and each berth has a maximum draught of 10 metres. It is able to accommodate up to 13 vessels at a time. To ensure efficient service the port has its own electricity supply power station with seven sub-stations throughout the port. To maintain tight security the port has a separate security system with a police station manned by the Nigeria Police Force backed up by private security organisations.

RoRo Port:
Exclusively used on a roll on roll off facility and mainly deployed for the storage of motor vehicles and containers. It has five vehicle parks, each able to accommodate 6,000 cars at a time. Some 13,600 square metres of shed space is provided and the port is equipped with well maintained cargo handling equipment including handlers, freight lifters, fork lifters, tractors and cranes. Security is provided by a combined team of the Port Police and Ports Security.

Port Harcourt:
A natural port which is the third largest in the country; it has a main quay some 1,390 metres long and has 13 berths, a dockyard with five mooring berths and tanker buoys. These include 11 general cargo berths, 2 for petroleum crude/refined products, 2 for vegetable oil, 2 for explosives and 1 for coal. Seven transit sheds provide storage space of over 26,000 square metres. The port has an extensive range of handling equipment and provides a maximum draught of 7.6 metres.

The Delta Ports Complex:
Includes the ports of Warri, Koko, Sapele, Alajda Steel Jetty and the crude oil terminals of Escravos, Forcados and Pennington. The ports serve a major commercial/industrial area which includes petroleum refineries, a steel reduction plant, a petro-chemical plant and gas plant.

i. Warri: consists of two ports- the Old Port provides 8 berths and includes the Ogununu Wharf which handles exclusively cargo for the Ajaokuta iron and steel industry. The new port has 6 main berths, including 1 RoRo berth, all approximately 250 metres long.

The total quay length of 1600 metres can handle up to 9 cargo vessels and other service craft. It also has an independent water supply and its own power station to supplement electricity from the national grid. The two ports have a combined storage capacity of nearly 35,000 square metres and provide extensive plant handling equipment.

ii. KoKo Port: a natural port located on the Benin River providing 137 metres of quay with over 7 metres of depth alongside. It is also has extensive warehouse and transit storage facilities. In addition to general cargo handling there is an oil jetty operated by Total Nigeria Plc.

iii. Sapele Port: originally designed for the export of timber, the port has been extensively developed and currently provides 13 mooring buoys with 11.5 metre depth for general cargo handling, a NEPA bulk liquid berth, 3 general cargo berths, a bulk solid cargo berth and a fish berth. An extensive range of facilities are provided to ensure efficient operations.

iv. Escravos Oil Terminal: located at the mouth of the Escravos River the jetty has 2 single point mooring buoys with depths of 32 metres and 22 metres. The terminal handles vessels of any length and the average turn around time is 36 hours. The terminal has a capacity of 2.8 million barrels and a loading rate of 25,000 barrels per hour.

v. Pennington: an offshore tanker loading berth with a maximum loading draught of 13.7 metres and no length restriction. With an average turn-round time of 42 hours, the berth provides a maximum loading rate of 18,000 barrels per hour and a storage capacity of 367,000 barrels.

vi. Forcados: the terminal is located in the mouth of the Focados River and has 2 mooring buoys providing a loading draught of 19.8 metres and no length restriction. The terminal has a storage capacity of 7.3 million barrels and a maximum loading rate of 86,250 barrels per hour, with a total storage capacity of 7.3 million barrels. Average ship turnaround time is about 40 hours.

vii. Calabar Ports: the Old Port provides 4 berths for general cargo handling and has a storage capacity of 40,000 tonnes. Maximum draught is 8 metres. The New Port, which also handles general cargo, provides a further 3 berths plus extensive cargo handling facilities and storage capacity. The new port also has an independent water supply and purification plant, together with its own electric power station with three generator sets.

Last Updated on Thursday 10th December 2009