The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has revealed plans to reduce the cost of shipping in Nigeria with the deployment of more digital technology and critical facilities at the nation’s seaports.
Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, during a media parley in Lagos, said the authority is about to deploy the port community system whereby every stakeholder is locked into one system for operations.
Bello-Koko said the port community system would not affect the e-customs, adding that it would enhance trade facilitation and ease shipping processes.
The NPA boss also revealed that the NPA is working hard to deploy Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), to monitor ship movement.
Vessel traffic services (VTS) are shore-side systems, which range from the provision of simple information messages to ships, such as position of other traffic or meteorological hazard warnings, to extensive management of traffic within a port or waterway.
According to him, the NPA is already partnering with the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), which is expected to help with the survey and deploy the facility around the country.
“We should be able to have visibility without seeing the ship. We are blocking leakages and ensuring removal of manual process at the seaports. I will love to see our port fully automated. Automation is the backbone of our port and we must achieve this and implement it in the right manner. That is what the port community system is about,” he said.
Bello-Koko also revealed that the 2022 budget would focus more on rehabilitation of the quay wall in Apapa and TinCan Island ports.
He said: “New fenders at quay wall have been purchased and will be delivered soon. This will allow safety of vessels. The fenders have been lost over the years and the shipping lines are complaining. Now we are sure of attracting more shipping lines, which means reduced cost of shipping for Nigerians,” he said.
Bello-Koko said Lekki port should start operations by September this year, adding that the only thing that is remaining is the ship to shore crane, which is expected to arrive in June.
Also, he said NPA is pushing for construction of a deep seaport in Bonny Island, Rivers State. All these, according to him are to ensure that Nigeria returns as the maritime hub in the continent.
He said the issue of staff welfare is also being taken care of, with provision of training, health facilities, computers and digital materials, and sport facilities, among others.