Sifax Group targets investment in Central Africa.
There are indications that leading indigenous terminal operator; Sifax Group may be looking forward to breaking new grounds in port business as the company has expressed it interest in the bidding process for new terminals in countries ofCentral Africawhich are yet to concession their ports to private operators.
This hint was dropped inLagos Tuesdayy at a press conference by the Sifax Director of Projects, Mr. Isaac Orolugbagbe that the company is already talking to the government of a country inCentral Africa(names withheld) and that it is looking for opportunities in the privatization of their ports.
He however said that the company is currently seating on the plan in order to prevent its competitors in the business from making its abilities to get the bid difficult.
“Plans to open new ports in Africa is ongoing, there are so many projects within the basket and there are port concession to be done in other countries, port is a sensitive business that requires a lot of government approval especially when most of the policies have not been articulated as in the case of Nigeria, but we are still talking with various governments to see how we can partner in port development” Orolugbagbe stated.
While giving an update about its activities and investments at the terminal ‘C’ which it currently owns at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos, Orolugbagbe said that Sifax group has invested billions of dollars at the terminal and that this has reflected in the changes that is currently noticeable at the terminal.
According to him, the volume of containers that is currently being handled by the company has increased and that “it is three times what we use to handle under the old administration, the transit time for clearing has also increased tremendously to the extent that inland container terminals are complaining because congestion has been wiped off”
Orolugbagbe opined that the Federal government can now be proud to tell Nigerians that the ports can clear goods within 48hours as a result of the efficiency in the operations of Ports and Cargo Terminal as well as other private operators.
He explained that part of the investments that the company has made at the terminal includes the ongoing rebuilding of its jetty, the acquisition of 10 units of Rubber Tire Gantries (RTG) valued at about 1.5million dollars, as well as 6 Lierber cranes valued at about N600million each.
Apart from this, he said that the company has also invested in sophisticated software as well as in the training of its staff.
He however said that despite all the achievements, the company still owes money to the banks and its other creditors. “We still owe plenty of millions, some of the equipment was financed by lease, and some have been fully paid for, while new ones have also been contracted out”
Sifax Group currently has subsidiaries that includes; Sifax Nigeria Limited, Ports and Cargo, Sifax Shipping, Sifax Offdock, Sifax Stevedoring, SAHCOL, Sifax Oil and Gas, Sifax haulage and logistics, as well as other companies in theUSAand other countries.