Giving Maritime Media The Honour They Deserve

Giving Maritime Media The Honour They Deserve
MD, NPA, Bello-Koko


The sustained advocacy of the Mohammed Bello Koko- led Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the decongestion of the Ports to pave way for efficient operations received a boost on 23rd June, 2023, when Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Transportation Dr. Magdalene Ajani led an inter-agency team comprising of the NPA, Nigerian Customs (NCS)and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on assessment tour of overtime cargoes littering the Ports.

It is time the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Transportation in particular began to accord the maritime media more respect and honour by deeming it important to appoint members into committees for optimal utilization and value addition.

This committee on the decongestion of the port is not a technical committee that requires high-skillled wisdom or industry expertise to belong. At best, it  just demands identifying what constitutes a blockade or nuisance and its evacuation process and mechanism.

Many members are not just well read now but have developed themselves so much that they are better news makers than a bundle of the operators who try to make the news.  Capacity building is also meant for the media who keep the industry informed with trends. It  also would not be a bad idea if the vehicles to be auctioned are made available for the press to participate.

The maritime media have suffered so much alienation from the agencies and operators who see many of them as “These press boys” irrespective of their age and achievements.  Let’s close the gap with a better relationship.

 The Lagos and Tin can Island Port Complexes and the Terminals therein including Ikorodu Lighter Terminal have over the years been occupied with 3,200 Units of overtime cars and about 3,295 units of overtime containers respectively, while the eastern ports have a combined total of 956 overtime containers.

This awkward situation apart from constraining terminal spaces required for seamless cargo handling operations in the ports, has contributed to deterioration of port infrastructure which are  designed as transit locations as opposed to holding dead weight tonnages for years which these age long overtime cargo constitute.

Following the inspection tour which held on Friday and Saturday 23rd and 24th June respectively, an all-stakeholder Sensitization involving Shipping Lines, and Association of Freight Forwarders and clearing agents was convened on Monday 26th June 2023, where it was unanimously agreed that all cargoes and container that have overstayed their required time at the Ports should be auctioned “in-situ” (In their current locations) and removed immediately from the Ports.

To assure transparency and inclusiveness, the modalities to govern the auction process will be finalized by all stakeholders, after a similar sensitization meeting with stakeholders in the eastern ports of Warri, Rivers, Onne and Calabar.

It will be recalled that Mohammed Bello Koko, the Managing Director NPA had at several fora sought the cooperation of the NCS to ensure speedy removal of overtime cargo from the Ports and terminal yards to free up space and preserve the durability of the capital intensive port infrastructure.

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