Tin Can Island Port: History, Functions, Operations & Economic Impact

Are you aware that Nigeria has six major seaports?

Do you also know that the most efficient ones are found in Apapa, Lagos state? The Lagos port complex and Tin can island port complex are the major seaports in Nigeria; serving as the main entryway for all imports and exports.

Our major concern here is to enlighten you on Tin Can Island in Lagos.

Find a place and rest, while we take you through the Island.

Facts About Tin Can Island Port

Tin can island is a massive seaport located in Apapa, Lagos.

It was formally opened in 1977 but came fully operational in 1981 when it was merged with RoRo Port.  Since 2000, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPN) oversees its daily operations, control, maintenance, and management.

Tin can island port is the second busiest seaport in Lagos. It swung into action when it became paramount to decongest the Lagos Port Complex.

The port’s complex has 500, 000 containers, and 50 permanent tractors are now on the ground. There is over 600 staff working to ensure smooth daily operations, and AID mobile cranes that move 60 times per hour.

Its valve can accept thirteen vessels at a time. Its draught is 20 meters long. Container capacity is over 20,000 Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

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The total wharf length is 770 meters; with a total of 13 berths which is 2185 meters long. And 15 shipping lines.

The entire port complex is powered by an electricity supply station located within the port. Presently, plans are in progress to invest in green technology, which will allow the port to generate power from waste.

This is to avoid high fuel consumption.

Terminal Operators

Recently, the government privatized the port. They granted a group of companies rights to manage the port. The port terminal was split into five for easy management.

The five terminals have their operators:

  • Tin can Island Terminal A is handled by Josepdam port services Nigeria limited.
  • Tin can island terminal B is handled by Tin can island container terminal limited.
  • Tin can island C is handled by Port and cargo handling services are limited.
  • Tin can island is handled by Port and terminal multiservice limited.
  • Tin can RoRo terminal is handled by Five-star logistics limited.

These operators specialize in certain cargo areas. One terminal handles liquid and dry bulk cargoes. The other takes care of box cargoes. Another handles container cargoes. Another, Roll-on-Roll-off cargoes.

The other, Build, operate and transfer services.

Significance Of Tin Can Island Port in Nigeria

The port has been a huge advantage to the Nigerian economy. It is a major point of convergence for water transportation. It has also been functional for many years.

  • It is a great source of revenue for Nigeria. As of 2020, ₦117.8 billion was generated. Revenue comes from fees attached to ship registration, ship mortgage, custom duties, tariffs, and charges. There is a two percent mandatory charge on gross earnings of shipping companies. Fines are placed on tankers that pollute the environment. Foreign vessels pay for services at the port. Vessels that transport crude oil also pays a compulsory fee. All these revenues are realized by the Nigeria Port Authority and National Maritime Authority.
  • Nigeria is highly dependent on its export of crude oil and agricultural produce. The country also relies on the importation of machines and equipment for industrial uses. The imports and exports are made possible due to the presence of the Tin can island seaport.
  • Other modes of transportation are eased. Transport by water is affordable and efficient for bulk transport. This makes it a better option for Nigerians. In turn, it prevents congestion on the road, rail, and air.
  • The importation of raw materials has helped in the construction of roads and industries. It has also helped in converting natural resources to useable items.
  • Massive employment opportunities. Lots of people are employed to see to smooth operations of the seaport. People are employed to serve as stevedores, seamen, engineers, service consultants, managers, etc. Maritime industry private and public sectors like customs, immigration, shipping companies, NAFDAC, etc. provide thousands of job opportunities.
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It is important to note that ports serve as terminals where authorized sea vessels are kept, protected, and provided for. Sea vessels dock to load and offload goods and passengers.

  • Cargoes are loaded, unloaded, and transshipped from vessels. Once a ship arrives at the shore, cargoes are transferred using cranes to the port.
  • Storage of goods. They are stored for owners to claim them. Cargo lorries are used to transport to and from the seaport.
  • Passengers and crew embark or disembark at the port.


  • They make vessels safe for entering and departing from the terminal
  • Necessary facilities and equipment are provided for anchoring, loading, offloading cargoes, embarking and disembarking passengers from sea vessels.
  • Maintenance, repair, and shelter are provided for vessels.
  • Preservation and warehousing goods.

Challenges facing Tin can Island port

over time the port has been facing a serious challenge that has threatened its existence, smooth operations, and even its ability to generate revenue. Some of the challenges have been identified to include:

  • Residential houses are built around the port

The port is not a residential area. It is dangerous for houses to be within the area considering the kind of activities that goes on there. Besides, it also adds to the congestion of the port area.

  • The seaport is seen as a storage facility

The seaport in Tin Can Island is meant to store cargo for short periods. It is supposed to go after a specific period. But in cases where cargoes exceed their stay, the port becomes crowded; making new cargoes struggle for space.

  • Outdated infrastructure

Most of the buildings are very old. There is a need for a total revamping of the current structures in the port.

  • Poor roads

Due to this, transportation to the seaport takes longer than usual.

  • Government reluctance

The government seems to take matters regarding seaports lightly.

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Possible Solutions To Tin Can Problems

Solutions have been proferred on the ways to tackle the challenges bedeviling the Tin Can Island Port. They are;

  • Residential areas should be very far from the seaport.
  • Cargoes should be claimed within the specified time it arrives.
  • Good roads and seaport infrastructure should be built.
  • Government should be focused on issues arising in seaports. They should proffer immediate solutions.

I hope this guide provided the needed facts about Tin Can Island, Lagos.

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