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This study focuses on the effectiveness of containers in the movement of cargo in the out of Tincan Island Port. Data obtained from the NPA statistics showed that between the year 2000-2005. In the 2000 a total of 31,363 TEU laden containers came in as imports while 4,243 TEU went out as export.

In the 2001 45,854 TEU laden containers came in as imports while 4,546 TEU went out as export. In the 2002 48,890 TEU Laden containers came in as imports while 4,680 TEU Laden Containers came in as imports while 4,964 TEU went out as export. In 2004 39,651 TEU Laden containers came in as imports while 3,398 TEU went out as export. In 2005 51,197 TEU while 4,887 TEU went out as export.


1.0   Introduction

Transportation in a simple sense means the movement of people and goods from one place to another. The need for transport is fundamentally the desire of Man to bridge the gap between the areas of resource surplus and areas of resource deficits. Therefore areas lacking in such resources but need them demand from areas with surplus. To be able to achieve this transport is required.

There are five main modes of transport namely: Road, Rail, Water (sea and river), Air and Pipeline. For the purpose of this study, focus will be on sea transport. Sea transport has certain advantages over the land mode. It makes use of waterways such as river, sea and ocean as channel of movement. Unlike roadway and railway, water transport requires little maintenance. Water surfaces are two dimensional, although sea-going vessels frequently keep to shipping lanes. Ship can travel within a limited number of constraints in any direction.

Sea transport has the ability to carry the largest number of passengers and freight compared to all other modes. It is international in nature, cheap and comparatively has a low speed. The movement of ocean vessels is restricted by physical conditions, economic consideration and political factors. Its operation is subject to international rules and regulations. And it requires sophisticated terminal facilities and equipment.

Ships carry transport units by sea between different parts. They can vary considerably in size depending on the distance to be covered and the volumes to be transported. Most often they sail in set routes arranged by the shipping companies and the shippers. In the case of deep sea shipping, they only carry “sea containers”, complying with the technical features stipulated in the ISO standards in force. Containers lead to better logistical management of the areas used for loading and unloading goods, since their rigid structure enables them to be stacked up three high. Container lengths have been standardized at 20 and 40 feet, making them the ideal transport unit for sea shipping.

Containerization was pioneered by sea land, a shipping company founded by Malcolm McLean in 1957. Though McLean did not invent containerization, he was the first to successfully commercialize the technology. Containerization can be broadly defined as stowing irregularly shaped freight goods in sealed and reusable containers of uniform size and shape that can be easily transported across different modes of transport. The key benefit of containerization has been that it has greatly facilitated the transport of cargo, particularly with respect to the on and off loading of ships. This had far reaching consequences for the transportation industry, leading to improvements in efficiency as well as an overall increase in trade volumes. Furthermore, by facilitating the combinations of multiple transport modes, containerization drove consolidation and vertical integration in the transport industry.

Nigeria imports large quantity of industrial and mechanical equipment with other consumer products to the country. The development of sea port in Nigeria started in the mid 19th century in the era of meaningful exploration and trading activities in the country.

The research will try to examine the satisfaction Nigerian consignees derive from the use of containers in order to determine the effectiveness of containers in the movement of cargo at the Tincan Island Port.


The use of any innovation or technology does come with some challenges, likewise the use of containers in Nigeria at the Tincan Island Port.

1.           Containerization of cargo has a multiple effect on unit cost of production due to excessive usage charges.

2.           Block stacking of containers in the terminal couple with the non-chalant attitude of terminal operators causes unnecessary delay for consignees.

3.           Providing adequate security for containers in the terminal has become very difficult.

4.           Containers handling has become time consuming owing to inadequate supply of plant equipment and specialized container truck.

Thus the following highlighted problems need to be resolved to enhance the benefits of using containers.

1.2   Aim and Objectives of the Study                                        

The aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness of containers in the movement of cargo in and out of Tincan Island Port. Below are the objectives to achieve this aim.

1.           To examine the operational effectiveness of container handling on cargo movement.

2.           To identify the constraints on the use of containers.

3.           To assess the level of security for the contents of the containers at the terminal, port or in transit.

4.           To examine the global acceptance of containers in easing shipping operations thereby facilitating international trade.

5.           To identify the contractual agreement in use of containers between the shipping companies and consignees.

1.3   Scope of Study

The study area is Tincan Island Port in Lagos. The study involves the assessment of effectiveness of containers in the movement of cargo in and out of the study area.

In addition, the study area will also focus on the satisfaction derived by consignees in the usage of containers, taking into consideration the number of containers that make inward and outward movements.

1.4   Study Area

Tincan Port is uniquely equipped to handle large number of vehicle and general cargo containers. In fact, over 80 percent off all imported vehicle pass through the Port. The Port consists of berths 9 and 10. The part has a quay length of 705 meters. There are also two wave houses of 6,800 square meters each with a modern administrative block. The Port is located North-West of Apapa Port and has a bearing of latitude 6.27 degree North and longitude 3.3 degree East.            

1.5   Statement of Research Hypothesis

H1:      If there is significant relationship between the number of consignees who use container and the shipping charges.

HO:   If there is no significant relationship between the number of consignees who use container and the shipping charges.

H1:      If there is significant relationship between the security of goods and pilferage.

HO:   If there is no significant relationship between the security of goods and pilferage.

1.6   Limitation and Constraints

The study will focus only on Tincan Island Port in Lagos, as time and cost are major hindrances as at the time of writing. Experienced some difficulties in obtaining container throughput data from Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).

In administering the questionnaires, there were difficulties as the respondents were reluctant, but after pleading and persuading them, they co-operated with me.

1.7   History of Container Development

This section will develop the context in which containerization was introduced; first we establish the commercial imperative behind the technology.

a.           Transportation before the advent of colonization

b.           Containerization benefits and value creation

c.            Impact of containerization on the transportation industry.

1.8   Definitions of Terms

Cargo:                 This refers to a goods transported vice the ship. It includes all kinds of movable personal property other than animals.

Vessel:                This refers to a ship of any kind whatsoever whether self propelled or otherwise towed other than a ship belonging to a foreign government not engaged in commerce or trade.

Cargo Throughput:    The totality of inward and outward cargo handled in a port within a givens period. It excludes tonnage of crude petroleum oil handled.

Tonne:                (a) where charges are assessed on the gross weight of the commodity and all packaging, 10 kilos, but any consignment weighing less than 50 kilos shall be charged as if such consignment were weighing 50 kilos.

(b) Where charges are assessed by measurement, 1m3 or 1.416m3 in the cases of logs, unless otherwise specified by a special agreement.

Stowing:             This is a process where goods (cargo) are packed in the right or convenient places without waste of room. It is simply the process of placing cargo where is will not cause obstruction.

Quarry:               This is a solid stationary artificial place usually of stone or iron lying along side or projecting into water for loading or unloading ships.

Terminal:           Where containers are stored for examination and delivery before being released to the consignees.

TEU                  One unit 20’ Foot container.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research


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