Managing Nigerian Ports For More Efficiency – STOAN’s perspective
“Terminal operators in Nigeria have done tremendously well since we came onboard in 2006. If you remember the state of the ports before terminal operators came in, you’ll agree that we have done a lot.” – Princess Vicky Haastrup, the President of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) told our correspondent on Friday.
Haastrup, who is also the Executive Vice Chairperson of ENL Consortium, was giving an appraisal of the activities of terminal operators at Nigerian ports since the port concession especially as some lease contracts have expired and talks have been initiated for their renewals.
According to her, those who know the history can recall the dilapidated state of the ports all over Nigeria. When one looks at that and compares it to what obtains today; one would agree that terminal operators have ushered in a lot of improvement.
“We have been able to enhance the revenue of the government via Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), even as we have enhanced the efficiency at the ports with automation and top-notch service delivery.”
“There have been a lot of development at the ports since we came onboard, and we are doing most of the things expected of us as terminal operators. We can do better and improve further on our services but we can’t shy away from the issues constituting encumberances at the Nigerian ports. Some of the issues include the state of the port access roads, lightings at the ports, among others. The ports wouldn’t be 100 percent efficient in one day with all these facilities because it would take a long time for this to be achieved,” she said.
Nevertheless, the port environment is one that is peculiar and needs the ease of doing business that the government has been talking about in recent years. The menace of policy somersault and frequent change of policies are also top issues that pose constraints to terminal operators and they determine the efficiency of the ports.
“Despite all these challenges, terminal operators have been able to play their roles, perform excellent delivery service and live above board. So, given this background I will that all of terminal operators whose leases have expired or are about to expire, deserve renewals,” she added.
While the level of port efficiency has improved tremendously since the era of terminal operators commenced in 2006, there have also been huge challenges with regards to arbitrary charges at the ports taking a toll on port business over the years.
As the moves for the renewal of expired terminal operators licenses progresses, the industry expects that some of the grey areas will be addressed, an expectation which is also shared by the STOAN boss
“I also think that the government is working with us and seeing reasons for the renewal of those leases. I believe that very soon we would see the conclusion of the process,” she added.