Transport Ministry Inaugurates Inter-Agency Committee On Lagos Ports Corridor

Transport Ministry Inaugurates Inter-Agency Committee On Lagos Ports Corridor
L-R: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Magdalene Ajani; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime; General Manager, Public Private Partnership, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Eniola Williams; at the headquarters of NSC, in Lagos, yesterday.

By Kenneth Jukpor

The Ministry of Transportation has inaugurated “Operation Free The Ports’ And Terminals Corridors” to be handled by the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) comprising port stakeholders and Inter-Agency representatives in the maritime industry.

While conducting the exercise, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani commended the improvement in vessel berthing time from five hours at anchorage to 90 minutes, as well as incidents reduction which have led to a positive effect on operations at the ports.

According to her, the success of the newly inaugurated team is hinged on the collaboration and commitment of all stakeholders.

Her words: “It takes everyone to be onboard to achieve this and we need to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). This is where NPPM comes in because it puts together the SOPs of the various agencies in one document.”

“Being here to flag-off this project is an honour and I want to start by commending the Port Standing Task Team on what has been achieved in the last one year. It took me 40minutes from the airport to get to this location. My flight was supposed to take-off from Abuja at 8am, but at 1am we got a message that it has been rescheduled for 1pm. We had to get another flight that landed in Lagos by 10am. I left the airport by 10:05am and I was at Shippers’ Council building in Apapa by 10:40am.”

The Permanent Secretary opined that the PSTT has already been making progress with regards free access around the port access roads.

“I can tell that we are moving forward because I come to Lagos often and recently I was heading to Apapa and asked to be taken by road to Marina. I asked the driver not to do one-way driving because I didn’t want to be embarrassed by Road Safety officials. They assured that they wouldn’t break the rules and it took us 20minutes from Victoria Island to NIMASA’s headquarters in Apapa. This was also courtesy of the PSTT and I recounting this so that we know that we’re achieving something,” she said.

Noting that the problem of port access connectivity is as long as 14years, she posited that stakeholders have to address it holistically with the aim to achieve ease of doing business at Nigerian seaports and the corridors.

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, thanked the team for constituting an enlarged task team for removing illegal checkpoints and shanties along the port corridors.

“I am particularly excited because of the level of buy-in obtained from the stakeholders coming from both the public and private sectors. It just goes to demonstrate how all of us are eager to rid the ports corridors of the anomalies we are witnessing daily,” he said.

Meanwhile, the head of the PSTT, Mr. Moses Fadipe noted that there is quick discharge of cargoes at terminals and speedy turnaround of vessels at the anchorage but the problems on the port access roads mars the other successes.

He, however, thanked port stakeholders such as; Maritime Worker’s Union of Nigeria (MWUN), freight forwarding practitioners, truck owners, security agencies, terminals and shipping companies for their support.

Fadipe also expressed delight at the zeal which the PSTT members from respective agencies addressed numerous issues and encouraged them to continue such approach with the new task of freeing the ports and terminals corridors.

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