The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has threatened to shut down all the nation’s ports that were yet to comply with the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
Speaking at a one day Seminar with the theme,” Working Towards A New Port Order”, organized by the Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS) in Lagos Wednesday, the Director-General of NIMASA, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi stated that even if the agency failed to close down those ports, they would still not get international shipping businesses.
Represented by the Head, Planning and Research of the agency, Ibrahim Jibrin, Akpobolokemi said that NIMASA was very serious with the compliance status of the nation’s ports saying that the earlier Nigeria got her ports to comply with the ISPS Code, the better for the new port order that everybody was looking up to.
According to him,” I want to inform all of you that NIMASA is very serious about this compliance status of our ports and very soon, all the ports that are not compliant will be shut down. There is no doubt about it, until they are compliant with the ISPS Code”.
“I am sure I do not have to buttress the details of the need for our ports to be compliant with the ISPS Code, even if they are not shut down, I am very sure there will be no international shipping business in those ports, there is no doubt about it. So, the earlier we get all our ports in compliance with the ISPS Code, the better for the new Port reform order that we are looking into today”.
He observed that NIMASA as the designated agency for the implementation of the ISPS Code has come up strongly to ensure compliance with the ISPS Code in the country adding that cannot do it alone without involving the commercial regulator of the ports.
He said,” I will inform here that so far, out of 129 ports in Nigeria, we have just about 38% of the ports that are ISPS Code compliant as at today and that represents about 49 ports out of 129. But the good news is that our major ports are compliant with the ISPS Code”.
The NIMASA boss however lamented the inaccessibility of the Nigerian ports due to the persistent traffic gridlock which according to him had hindered a lot of businesses in the nation’s ports noting that unless drastic measures were taken by the stakeholders, the dream of having a new port order may well be an elusive idea.
“However, I beg to mention that through the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Transport and in recent times, the Nigerian Ports Authority collaborating with the Nigerian Railway Corporation and I believe that they are making efforts to resuscitate the rail lines that traversed through our Nigerian Ports. I think that will give a great relief to the road sector that has been over-used in recent times”, he said.