NPA Launches $1.1bn Port Rehabilitation Plan for Enhanced Trade Competitiveness

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Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said it is embarking on a significant $1.1 billion port rehabilitation plan,in a means to ensure a strong commitment to fortify Nigeria’s trade competitiveness.

Speaking during a panel session during the 43rd PMAWCA (Port Management Association of West and Central Africa) conference held in Lagos, Mohammed Bello Koko, the Managing Director of NPA, stated that with almost every port in Nigeria requiring rehabilitation, the NPA is initiating a substantial overhaul, starting with the TinCan and Apapa ports in Lagos.

He stated that the objective of the authority is to enhance the physical infrastructure of these ports to accommodate vessels of all sizes and increase the draft at the quay side, with the aim of achieving draft depths of up to 14 meters expressing that the initiative will render Nigerian ports more competitive on a global scale.

Koko further stated that the NPA is also strengthening collaborations with the private sector to establish new seaports.

Notably, he said the Lekki Deep Seaport has already commenced operations, and the Badagry Deep Seaport recently signed an agreement with a Middle Eastern party, with construction scheduled to commence early next year.

He said these endeavors exemplify the NPA’s determination to create a multimodal transportation system connecting all ports seamlessly.

Recognizing the inefficiencies associated with road-dependent cargo evacuation, he said the NPA is actively working on alternatives initiatives which include implementing barges and expanding rail infrastructure. He informed that the rail line has reached Apapa port and will soon extend to TinCan port.

Furthermore, he said the survey for deploying cargo rail and tracks to Onne port has been completed, setting the stage for the project to kick off next year.

To streamline operations and reduce costs, Koko informed that the NPA is embracing automation.

He said “The authority has automated its collection system and is collaborating with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to introduce a state-of-the-art port community system, poised to optimize cargo clearance processes”

Acknowledging the need for more efficient operations,he said the NPA is working on clarifying the responsibilities of government agencies within the ports with the newly developed port process manual aimed to reduce overlaps and eliminate duplication of duties.

On security he said deployment of the “Deep Blue Sea” project, equipped with air and sea assets, is enhancing security in the Gulf of Guinea and contributing to a significant reduction in piracy incidents within Nigerian waters.

Additionally, he stated that the NPA is collaborating closely with the Nigerian Customs to reduce bottlenecks and cut the cost of doing business within the ports.

Koko also disclosed the development of a 25-year port master plan that will guide the location, sizes, and activities of ports, terminals, and jetties in Nigeria.

He said the master plan will serve as a national working document, uniting all stakeholders towards marine and logistics development.

Speaking earlier Mr Martin Boguikouma, President PMAWCA, urged African countries to address challenges facing the region to be able to receive the new volume of traffic that would emerge due to AfCFTA

Boguikouma listed ways to solve the challenge as collaboration between customs and port authority to harmonise customs procedures.

“We need to ensure capacity building of all seaport and customs officials, and sensitise them on how to address cross border trade.

“There is a need to work in reducing transport cost, investing in efficient transport infrastructure, and maritime safety through enhanced interstate cooperation,” he said.

He noted Gabon had put in place things that would ensure that free trade become a success.

He listed some as, signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on facilitation of trade, harmonised customs duty which was very important for AfCFTA

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