Despite the 10% slash in shipping dues granted to encourage use of Nigeria’s Eastern Ports, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has lamented that it is still very expensive to operate at the eastern ports because of activities of sea pirates and militants attacking vessels.
Speaking at a meeting at the NPA Headquarters in Marina Lagos, Hadiza said the authority was getting a lot of complaints on insecurity at eastern ports which is making it difficult for investors to patronize the port.
She urged stakeholders to take advantage of the 10% waiver on shipping dues provided by NPA recently.
Some of the ports most affected by the pirates and militants are; Calabar Port, Warri Port and Port Harcourt Ports.
Speaking, she said “One of the challenges we observed at the eastern ports has to do with security on the waterways, at the Eastern ports, it costs more to secure your vessel, this is the complaints that we received which is discouraging people from going to eastern Ports”
“The high cost of securing the vessel as it comes into the port due to the activities of the militants, this is the challenge and we have notified the office of the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian Navy on the need to amplify the security deployment in that area to mitigate against the high rate of piracy attacks in the eastern ports region”
“In the last one month, we granted a waiver for the eastern ports in particular reference to Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Warri port where we provided a ten percent waiver on shipping dues”
“We are encouraging users of these ports to take advantage of these waivers we have given”
Hadiza Bala Usman has also said that the agency is conducting survey of major port terminals, saying that there has been a rising concern about the dilapidated quay aprons of Nigerian Ports.
The NPA boss revealed that the authority has received complaints from terminal operators that the quays at the terminals were too weak to accommodate the heavy cranes and other heavy equipment imported by the concessionaires.
Hadiza assured that NPA consultancy service to do a conditional survey of the quays in Tin Can Port, even as she assured that the rehabilitation of the quays at Ikorodu Lighter Terminal is already being completed by 80%.
She said “We have actually issued out a consultancy service to do a conditional survey of the quays in Tin Can Port, on that basis we are going to have a clear perspective on what needs to be done to address the state of the quays”
“However, even if the quays in Tin Can Island are rehabilitated, Nigeria still needs to have a deep seaport, so whether the infrastructure status is optimal or not, we need to have deeper draft which would enable us compete favorably as the Shipping industry changes to recognize the larger vessels”
“At Ikorodu terminal, we are rehabilitating the quays, the contractor has reached 80% completion to ensure strong quays are provided to use the place for agric processing”
She said that currently, barges are being used to convey agric export cargoes to and from the terminal in order to ease congestion at the Apapa ports.
She said “Terminal operators have lamented that the larger cranes they bring in are too heavy for the strength of the quays, so they want us to reinforce some of these quays before they would be able to deploy heavier cranes that need stronger quays to be mounted”