NPA Launches Tug Boats To Boost Ports Operations

NPA Launches Tug Boats To Boost Ports Operations

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Muhammad Bello-Koko, has said that the Dangote Petrochemicals Refinery handled 120 tanker vessels between January and June 2024.

Bello-KoKo disclosed that on Thursday, during the presentation and inauguration of two newly acquired tug boats, named Mt Iragbiji and Mt Bama, in Apapa, Lagos.

According to the NPA boss, the refinery is projecting 412 tanker vessels in the remaining half of the year.

“The data for Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals is showing that 120 tanker vessels have been handled in the six months from January to June 2024, with a projection for 415 between July and December,” he said.

He reaffirmed the authority’s commitment to ensure that Dangote handles more vessels, and stated that, so far, the refinery has handled 17 fertilizer vessels in the last six months of the year.

“While Dangote Fertilizers has handled 17 fertilizer vessels with a projection for 41 in the corresponding period, we are by this commissioning and ancillary deployments putting mechanisms in place to cater for a continuous increase going forward,” Bello-Koko stated.

He noted that the tugboat, which would be deployed to Lekki Deep Seaport, would help facilitate trade in the axis.

The NPA MD stated that the corridor had become a hub for actualising Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in energy, agricultural growth and trade transshipment capacity with, “the hosting of a 650,000 barrels-per-day Dangote Refinery, Africa’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex and Nigeria’s first fully automated deep seaport, which can berth Super Post Panamax sized ships”.

“We are by these commissioning and ancillary deployments putting mechanisms in place to cater for continuous increase going forward,” the NPA boss assured.

Bello-Koko commended the minister of marine and blue economy for the continuous support that enabled the port authority to enhance its operational efficiencies.

He stated that the boats would help deliver efficient pilotage and towage services that would enhance the cargo evacuation needs of the Lekki maritime corridor.

In his speech, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, stated that the investment in acquiring the marine craft was a step towards enhancing port efficiency and strengthening Nigeria’s position as a leading maritime nation in the region.

According to the former Osun State governor, the current administration is committed to investing in developing the country’s maritime assets.

He stated that the ministry recognised the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth, stressing that the ministry would do all that was required to update the existing facilities.

“By acquiring these modern marine crafts, we are reaffirming our commitment to maximise the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

“We are determined to optimise our competitive edge as a littoral nation and deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of cutting-edge technology and equipment,” Oyetola said.

Also, the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, noted that the service had found it comfortable to work with the NPA to develop the export sector, automate Customs processes, decongest the port, and ensure port efficiency.

According to Adeniyi, the collaboration between Customs and NPA has started yielding good fruits, such that the NPA and the NCS were recently ranked highly by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council in line with the vision of the present administration to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector.

He assured that customs would do all within its capacity to remain on top of ease of doing business ranking for the growth of the maritime industry.

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Dayo Mobereola, lauded the NPA and minister of the Marine and Blue Economy for the leading role played in driving efficient service delivery in the nation’s port industry.

According to Mobereola, trade facilitation comes with efficiency and only efficient service delivery would enable Nigeria to regain cargo lost to neighbouring West African ports.

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