Mr. Adeyinka Sholeye, a Marine Engineer, said that Nigeria has lost its transshipment hub status to West African countries like Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic due to dilapidated port infrastructure in Nigeria.
“These countries claimed trans shipment hub status from Nigeria because they have developed their ports into modern ones with infrastructure such as good access roads, a deeper draught that can accommodate larger vessels.
“While these countries can take a vessel with 16 meters draught, none of the Nigerian seaports can accommodate such vessel due to the nation’s shallow draught that is not more than 13 meters.
The Vice President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, speaking in a similar vein, lamented that the nation’s second-largest revenue earner, after oil, was left to wallop in such a sorry state with dilapidated infrastructure.
According to him, there are too many factors that are drawing the sector backward, ranging from bad access roads to the ports, to high shipping costs, shallow water draft at seaports.
“There are too many issues responsible for the setback. The government does not have either the political will or is not serious about implementing those good policies. You should expect that before the end of this year, we are going to have more than 40 percent drop in cargo coming to Nigerian ports”.
“The neighbouring countries, such as Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo are rapidly developing their seaports while Nigeria is currently losing grip of the shipping economy due to abandonment of the sector, which is the second revenue earner for the government after oil,” he noted.
The National President, National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said the neighbouring ports have already positioned their ports as millennium ports, preferred, transshipment or load center, adding that most West African ports built their ports to accommodate Nigerian- bound cargo, knowing about the country’s poor infrastructure.
He identified the neighbouring ports, which have either completed their deep-sea projects or near completion at Cotonou, Benin Republic, Lome, Togo, Accra, Ghana and Cameroun.
He called on the Federal Government to wake up by designing the concept of a deep-sea/ transshipment center to accommodate large E-Class vessels/mega-ships of 8000- 20000 TEUs, that are currently demanded regionally and globally, which is the only solution to the diversion of goods to neighbouring ports.
He advised that with international best practices, Nigeria must design the National Guarantee system to cover the payment of import duty taxes at the time of transit; Custom Seal that ensures the physical integrity of the goods while in transit, making sure that the goods start and exit the transit in its original state; Implement electronic tracking system enabling Customs to track and locate transit vehicles and guide intervention force including Customs staff; a document system to enable transit document issued at the start of Transit journey to be accepted by transport and Custom authority along with transit.
Amiwero identified an inefficient port system as to why the country lost the transshipment hub status to other West African countries.
He said the Federal government needs to address the unwholesome practices of manipulated delays by providers of shipping services and other government agencies, leading to high demurrage, rent, and high transactional costs.
“There is need to reclaim our cargo from neighboring West African countries that are now a hub for Nigeria cargos, by working out a mechanism for a better developed regional hub to consolidate on our destination of Nigerian cargo that has been siphoned by regional ports,” he advised.
I want to bequeath fully automated ports to Nigerian shipping industry–Bello Koko
Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has expressed his passion and uncommon commitment to leaving a fully automated port system as his legacy after he bows out of office.
Bello- Koko, whose ascension to the NPA’s highest office was as dramatic as it was eventful, said port automation, which is the latest trend in the world, especially, the Port system, is central to his administration in the NPA.
Koko, who spoke Saturday 14th, May 2022 during his maiden press conference, expressed his belief that a fully automated port system will translate to efficiency, low costs, and improved revenue.
In a no hold- barred interactive session with journalists, the NPA helmsman shared his vision of robust port processes hinged on automation devoid of human interaction.
“We have so much automation done in isolation and we need to integrate them.
“We need to put up something that everybody will love to log into. We need to copy a system that is being used in other developed countries, something that will add value, something that everyone agrees with and that is the port community system and harbour automation.
“I am looking forward to a legacy of rehabilitated port infrastructures with the right marine equipment and that is something we have started working on already.
“Discussions have started in terms of designs, we have gotten the full design of the Tin Can port, how it is going to be reconstructed, what is the likely cost of reconstructing Tin CAN, what are we going to do with some parts of Apapa port.
“We have approached BUA to start reconstruction. The same process is on in the Rivers ports where some of the infrastructures have collapsed.
“If we are able to do this, then we have achieved quite a lot.
Apart from port automation, Koko beloved that he needs efficient and committed staff who are well motivated to drive the reformation agenda.
So he declared that improved staff welfare is another area he wants to work on while in office.
“Staff welfare is very important to me which I want to pay special attention to. All these things are the legacies I want to leave behind when I exit as the Managing Director of NPA” he declared.
The NPA MD, who gave a blow-by-blow account of the challenges and prospects of bequeathing a reformed port process, believed that the core function of the NPA was trade facilitation.
However, he lamented that since the agency has been turned into a revenue-generating agency, it has lost focus on this vital core function of trade facilitation while pursuing revenue generation
“NPA is about trade facilitation.
“The core responsibility of every port in the world is to facilitate trade.
“While the NPA has been turned into a major revenue earner for the federal government of Nigeria, gradually, some of our responsibilities are impossible to carry out because there is more focus on the contribution to the CRF, which is fine.
“What it does for us is it makes us reduce costs and generate more.
He then extensively dwelt on the efforts of his management to reinvent the wheel of making NPA more of a trade facilitator than a revenue earner.
“For you to ensure that this trade facilitation succeeds, you need to meet with your stakeholders.
“The port environment is a conglomerate of so many players.
“That was the first thing we did and we set a goal for ourselves, which is what are those things we need to do in order to improve trade facilitation.
“It is only when you do that that you start to have a better flow of traffic, shorter dwell time of cargo, and quick turn around time of ships.
“And we reached out to as far as the Nigerian Navy with whom we are able to resolve some issues that we were not able to resolve for over 20 years.
“We just humbled ourselves and decided that we would reach out to everybody.
“We also realised that the modern ports are all moving toward automation, and automation cannot be in batches but there has to be full automation.
“Once there is manual interference in some of the things you do, then you haven’t fully been automated and because of that, we wrote to the IMO to help us consult. We are about to deploy the port community system.
“The port community system is an avenue which ensures that all stakeholders, all the players in the port processes, log into the system of exchange of data and processes.
“The good thing is that it doesn’t disturb the automation processes of individual agencies or stakeholders, such as e-customs and that was why we got the stakeholders to buy into it.
“We are upgrading our RIMS, you all know the problems of downloading manifest and we are going to deploy harbour automation.
“The IMO has mandated all ports to deploy such IT and soft wares by 2025, our target is 2023, maximum early 2024.
“We reached out to NLG. We have been trying to deploy VTS for about 10 years now but since we came, it was one of the major challenges.
“You can’t get qualified people to deploy VTS, they are very few.
“We wrote to IMO, they gave us some companies which could not meet our requirements while some of them were not interested in working with NPA.
“However, NLG has a VTR in Bonny, even though it is not robust.
“We do not have a problem in collaborating and in the last few months, we have been meeting with the NLG so that they do the survey and put the moles and the sensors around the country.
“It is one of the most important things in the maritime industry now, worldwide.
“We should be able to have visibility without seeing the ship and it would be a tremendous achievement and I believe we can achieve it within the year.
“Our RIM is also being updated and we ensure that people keep using those applications that we have which have reduced manual processes.
“As a result, things are improving, speed is improving. We have been able to block revenue leakages.
“However, we have old ports, we can all attest to that. The problem with the Eastern ports is decaying infrastructures while Tin Can island port is practically collapsing.
“We have decided to focus our budget on the rehabilitation of those decaying infrastructures.
Having reeled out his vision for a new port system, he then dared whoever cared to listen that he should be held responsible and accountable over his vision for the Nigerian ports.
“You can hold me responsible for any of these things ” he declared in a measured tone that betrayed his confidence and determination to succeed.
He promised to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and lending agencies to achieve his set objectives
“I will work with the relevant agencies, investors, and lending agencies who are interested in lending, either directly or indirectly.
EFCC discovers academy where Yahoo boys are trained
Operatives of the Abuja Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), have arrested one Afolabi Samad, owner of a Yahoo Yahoo Academy in Abuja.
The 24-year-old was arrested Thursday, May 12, 2022, in a sting operation alongside 16 of his students.
The owner of the alleged Academy rented the 3 bedroom flat for Three Million Naira to impact the tricks of cyber-frauds on his apprentices for undisclosed fees.
Item recovered from the suspects include laptops, phones, charms and two vehicles: a Lexus RX350 and Toyota Highlander.
The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.
PSTT seeks partnership with NARTO, MWUN to end traffic gridlock
The Coordinator-General, Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), Mr. Moses Fadipe has said that for the ports corridors to be freed, the team needs to work with the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigerian (MWUN).
Moses Fadipe said this during a meeting held at the Nigerian Shippers’ council headquarters in Lagos. He said that the illegalities on the port corridors are being tackled as a lot of state and non-state actors are currently being profiled.
He disclosed that some persons pose as NARTO workers to extort money on the port corridors.
In his response, the Executive Secretary, NARTO, Mr. Ogbogo Aloga, said anyone collecting money on the port corridors is involved in an illegal act. He appealed to the PSTT to address illegalities along Mile 2, Tin Can and Liverpool.
NARTO President, Yusuf Lawal said there is a need for collaboration amongst all agencies working in the ports.
He further stated that the transport sector of the maritime industry is currently going through a tough time.
Also, speaking at the meeting the President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju expressed the readiness of the Union to support the team to ensure the successful curbing of illegalities at the port.
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