Posted by News Express | 3 June 2020 | 1,210 times
Nigeria’s Eastern Ports have lately experienced an increased volume of cargoes, which can be attributed to efforts by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in accommodating the needs of vessel owners through giving discount to vessel owners as well as reaching out to them to determine their concerns.
NPA Managing Director Hadiza Bala Usman, stated this during an interview held on Tuesday June 2, 2020 on the Business Nigeria programme of TVC News.
“Now, container vessels that have not visited those ports are now going to ports in the East. Bearing in mind the challenges in Eastern ports, we are keen to have the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) deploy the Maritime Security Architecture to deal with the security concerns and ensure that vessels move safely to those ports,” Usman said.
Speaking on the state of the state of the industry, the NPS MD said that for Nigeria to be able to decongest access roads into Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports there is need for efficient and seamless evacuation of cargoes using intermodal transportation system that includes rail, inland waters and road.
She expressed concern that Nigerian ports cannot function well, if 90 percent of cargoes are moved by road alone.
“We recognise the utilisation of intermodal transport system in cargo evacuation and this is why the Minister of Transportation has been actively pursuing the rail project. And the contractor is working on linking Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports with rail connection, which would be completed before the end of this year for Nigeria to have efficient and seamless evacuation of cargoes,” she said.
According to her, the NPA has recently concluded the operational modalities for Lilypond and Tin-Can Island Truck Parks, which would enable the deployment of electronic call-up system in the next two to three months to link both parks.
“We also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with APM Moller Capital and they are working on evacuating cargo using the inland waters. So, using the three legs of cargo evacuation with call-up system are what will enable us to decongest Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports access roads,” she assured.
Pointing out the need for operational efficiency, Usman stated that the NPA is working with terminal operators and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to fast track cargo release and evacuation from ports.
“We need to deploy scanners to our ports so that cargoes can be inspected using scanners, but right now, cargoes are inspected physically. Doing this can be difficult and time consuming because officers have to open all the containers that come into our ports. We need to ensure that operators utilise automation for an improved efficiency of port operations. This is why we are insisting on having responsible terminal operators that would adhere to the developmental plans,” she noted.
Usman, who expressed optimism on the newly inaugurated NPA board, said that it is expected that the board aids the management in sustaining the strategies put in place to improve operational efficiency and increase revenue generation.
“We expect the board to push for our ports to become as competitive as required and ensure that we drive attendant reforms. We also expect the completion of ongoing deep seaport projects because one of the things that make Nigerian Ports not to be competitive is the absence of deep seaports, which provides depth of 16 meters and allow for economy of scale. This is where the industry is going now, and we are going to work with the new board to ensure that the deep seaport projects are concluded within a timely manner,” she added.
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