Application of Queueing Theory to Seaport Congestion Problem in Nigeria

Topics: Queueing theory, Queueing model, Kendall's notation Pages: 23 (7459 words) Published: June 7, 2011


1Oyatoye E.O. Ph.D
Department of Business Administration,
University of Lagos. Nigeria

2Adebiyi, Sulaimon Olanrewaju
Department of Economics and Financial studies
Fountain University Osogbo, Osun state. Nigeria.

3Okoye John Chinweze
Torcelik International Company United.
Apapa, Lagos. Nigeria

This paper stresses the importance of queueing theory to the problem of port congestion in order to enhance sustainable development of Nigeria ports. Nigeria Ports are characterized with incessant congestion problem in the recent past. This has resulted in diversion of ships scheduled for Nigeria Ports to other neighbouring country ports while has caused the country loose a lot of revenue. The effectiveness of Port is contingent upon loading and unloading of ships. The traffic movement through a port is a complex phenomenon because of the random nature of the arrival and service time of the ships. This requires a systematic approach in port planning and management. Queuing model was applied to the arrival and services pattern which causes the problems of congestion and proffer solutions to the problem areas. It is also used to predict the average arrival rate of ships to Tin can Island Port and the average service rate per ship in a month. The study to found out the number of berth in Nigeria port is adequate for the traffic intensity of vessels but other factors leading to port congestion were identified through the content analysis of the interview conducted with stakeholders at port. While policy recommendation were made for making the Nigerian Ports cost effective, more attractive and enhance quick turnaround of vessels at the Ports.

Keyword: Queue theory, port congestion, berth, arrival time, service time

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was established in 1955 and was saddled with the responsibility to oversee the activities and operations of the Ports in Nigeria. Over the years the Port has experienced series of congestion which has resulted in the diversion of Ships, scheduled for Nigeria Ports to other neighbouring country Ports. The first Ports congestion was experienced in Nigeria during the booming years of early 1970s. During that period there were a lot of income coming goods into Nigeria because of the discovery of crude oil and the reconstruction of the devastated effect of the civil war. The period witnessed a lot of importation of cement into the country so much so that hundreds of vessels had to queue for berthing space for months, “The Cement Armada”. So much money was wasted on payment of demurrage for these vessels, a development that created unpleasant consequences for the Nigeria economy.

The second Port congestion was witnessed in early 2000, when the federal government introduced a policy requiring 100% physical examination of all containers that were imported into the country and the contents unstuffed for the government agencies in the Port to ascertain and establish that all that was declared was actually what the container contains. This resulted in many consignees abandoning their containers thus creating backlog of un-cleared containers occupying the terminals and limiting the available space for in-coming containers. The recent Port congestion was between October 2008 and March 2009. This was as a result of two factors. Firstly, the Cargo traffic in Nigeria tends to have a certain cycle. The peak period this occurs between October and March. This period records more volume of goods coming into the Ports. The second factor is Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) efforts to fulfill their responsibility and ensure that their integrity is maintained, introduced a circular known as “Circular – 02”. The circular stated that any importer who makes a false declaration will have his goods seized and the importer...
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