NPA Unveils Plan To Attract Lost Cargoes Back To Nigeria

NPA Unveils Plan To Attract Lost Cargoes Back To Nigeria
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello Koko, 4th from left; Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, 5th from left; Mrs. Vicky Haastrup, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of ENL Consortium, 3rd from left; Hon. Onari Brown, Executive Director – Marine and Operations, NPA, 2nd from right; Ms Adenrele Susanna Adesina, Executive Director – Finance and Administration NPA 1st from left; Engr. Ibrahim Abba Umar Executive Director – Engineering & Technical Services, NPA 1st from left and another dignitary at the commissioning of at state-of-the-art 80-Ton Bollard Pull Tugboats in Lagos…recently.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello- Koko has disclosed that plans are in the pipelines to ensure that Nigeria attains its status as a maritime hub by winning back cargoes lost to neighbouring West African countries and catering to the maritime needs of neighbouring land-locked African countries.

To this effect, Bello-Koko disclosed that discussions have been held with officials from Chad, Niger Republic, and also from Cameroon on how they can start moving their cargoes from Nigeria into their respective countries.

Bello-Koko made these known during the commissioning of two tugboats M.T Maikoko and M.T DA-Opukuro aimed at boosting the operations of Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, the Lekki Deep Seaport by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani in Lagos.

“By acquiring these tugboats which are actually the largest that we have in the country so far, we will be able to tug in transhipment vessels of all sizes.What this simply means is there will be less waiting time for vessels and it will eventually lead to a reduction in cargo dwelling time.

“And we already have interest from other African countries, about 3 weeks ago we had a meeting with officials from Chad, Niger Republic, and also from Cameroon, the idea is to see how they can start moving their cargo from Nigeria into their country.

“And they are looking for ports that will be able to reduce waiting time in terms of the cargoes that are imported. And also, the right protocol needs to be put in place by the relevant government agencies and the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that this is done without hindrances.

“And now for Lekki Deep Seaport, with these tugboats that we just commissioned today, it means that our aim of making it a hub can actually be achieved.

“I know that trans-shipment cargo should come into Lekki probably in the next three weeks. With this tugboat we will be able to tug in no matter the size of the cargo that comes in, so naturally it means that we are going to take back businesses from neighbouring West African countries and also the cargoes meant for Nigeria that have been going to other African countries can actually be brought back” he said.

Earlier in her address while commissioning the two newly-acquired state-of-the-art marine crafts, Dr Ajani, said the acquisition of the 2813 model of Damen’s ASD neoteric 80 Tons Bollard Pull Tugboats, the first of its kind in Africa, had accentuated the determination of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to boost port operational efficiency.

“My joy derives from the fact that the acquisition of these equipments, amongst many others that are in the works, signposts Nigeria’s seriousness to optimize the opportunities inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which we are signatory.

“Maximizing the comparative advantages that our maritime assets as a littoral nation rest heavily on how much we are able to deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of relevant technology and equipment.

“I particularly want to commend the NPA Management team for delivering on this project in good time to support the optimization of the Lekki Deep Seaport. This is the kind of efficiency that the Ministry supports its agencies to entrench in the polity and I am happy that we are making progress,’’ she said.

Ajani pledged the continuous support of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to the audacious efforts of the NPA, agencies and parastatals of government towards inter-agency collaborations in the attainment of the overarching goal of making Nigeria a global reference point of excellence in trade facilitation.

She congratulated the NPA CEO, the management and stakeholders for the remarkable feat, expressing hope of greater accomplishments in the maritime industry.

On the tugboats, Bello-Koko explained: “These neoteric 80ton tugboats are the first of the 2813 Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) Model in Africa constructed by the world’s leading ship builders (Damen) and they possess exceptional Seakeeping Behavior, Superb Manoeuvrability of 360° using the Azimuth Thrusters, fire-fighting capability and Outstanding Towing Characteristics which will enhance the manoeuvring of large capacity vessels of 300 Metres LOA and above presently calling at our Ports.

“In addition to positively affecting the turnaround time of large vessels, their deployment will enable stakeholders to leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale, especially cost savings.’’

The NPA boss pointed out that the deployment of the Lekki Deep Seaport as a launch pad for trans-shipment remains unwavering, adding that the commissioning of the tug boats is an attestation to the NPA management’s doggedness and commitment to the noble cause.

He assured consignees, concessionaires and other stakeholders of continuous improvement in service delivery from the NPA under his leadership.

On his part, the Chief Operating Officer, Lekki Deep Seaport, Mr. Lawrence Smith hailed the FMOT, NPA for investing in maritime assets to boost efficiency at the seaport.

The tugboats were built at Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam by Depasa Marine International Nigeria Limited.

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