The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, has revealed that the Lagos ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island are overstretched and are currently operating above their installed capacity.
Bello-Koko, who was recently fielding questions on LeadershipNG, further disclosed both the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, which were built to handle 500,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) are now handling about 700, 000 TEUs, saying this is way above their installed capacities.
He stated that this has been responsible for the slow-paced good clearances being experienced at the Ports, adding there is an urgent need to introduce efficiency into the system since there is no space for physical expansion anymore.
“The city has caught up with the Ports so there is no space for expansion. What we need to do is to improve on the activities in the Ports, in terms of efficiency.
“In 2006 when NPA concessioned the terminals, there was a Development Plan between the NPA and the concessionaires and that plan included physical development and deployment of equipment. The concessionaires have met those agreements and everything has evolved but there is a need for bigger and more efficient equipment, better Information Technology IT system” the said.
Bello-Koko also spoke on why the Ports’ APM Terminals needs an upgrade in order to achieve better supply chain efficiency, flexibility and dependability.
“We have seen an improvement in terms of efficiency, but there is room for more. We have observed system downtime in one or two of the terminals, especially the APM Terminals, which is one of the terminals.
”Whenever APM Terminal system is down, it causes a lot of backlog in terms of traffic.
“What we did was to sit with the terminal operators, told them to improve on their operations; we have Monitoring and Regulatory Department in NPA, which has an index that on a monthly basis we look at the operations of the terminal operators and we grade them based on their operations and we also go ahead at the end of the quarter to sit with them and tell them where they have decreased and where they have improved and we have seen a better synergy between what the terminal operators are doing and the shipping lines, because some of them also have affiliated shipping lines working with them”, he explained.
He said his administration is committed to coming up with mandates and policies that would increase efficiency like never before.
“First, to improve Port operations, we came up with a policy that mandated shipping lines to establish holding bays for their empty containers and we mandated them to ensure that they have a holding bay outside the Port premises for empties.
”This is to ensure that when an importer takes away his cargo from the Port, he goes to his business premises or warehouse and offload.
”He should not bring the empty container into the Port, he should rather take it into the holding bay.
“Secondly, we mandated every vessel ship that comes into Nigeria, when it is sailing out, it must take away at least 80% of the total quantity of containers it brought in either as empty or as export cargo.
”We were beginning to see that Nigeria was being turned into a dumping ground for empty .containers and largely, this has worked because those empty containers have been removed. But we ensure regular monitoring and efficiency has increased.”, he said.
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