Stakeholders at the nation’s seaport has called on the federal government to declare state of emergency at the Tincan Island Port and other ports across the country in order to create the sense of urgency required to address the problems at the ports.
This is part of the communique issued at the end of the Breakfast Meeting with the theme, “Rehabilitation of Tin Can Island Port: Proffering Workable Solutions”, organized by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria, MARAN in Lagos last week.
The communique observed that Tin Can Island Port has become a mess and disaster as a result of huge traffic amid poor port infrastructure affecting the immediate community and the entirety of Lagos.
It noted that the Federal Government will be unable to collect the projected revenue from the nation’s seaports when deteriorating port infrastructure leads to dwindling ship calls and cargo traffic.
The communique maintained that besides NPA, the entire port community is affected one way or the other by the collapsing infrastructure, beginning with the terminal operators, port users and other agencies at the port.
It however, agreed that effective utilisation of the nation’s waterways for barging and river terminals could reduce the pressure on Lagos ports leading to economic activities in other parts of the nation.
It added that training and manpower development according to the stakeholders will ensure skilled manpower in the Maritime sector and fast track efficiency at the ports even as it posited that port operators and other industry stakeholders should be forward thinking and seek to proffer solutions to NPA on the port infrastructure challenges.
While admitting that the security threats at the Eastern ports and the waterways are being exaggerated, the communique harped on the need to enlighten port users on the profitability and ease of operations utilizing the Eastern ports.
“It continued, “Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should reconsider its levies on barge operators collected in dollars instead of naira as the operators collect their earning in naira. Insurance guarantees and other mechanisms should be explored to replace the N50 million bond requirement for licensing barge operators in the country.
“Port stakeholders are urged to avail themselves and patronize the industry port portals created by the Nigeria Shippers Council, serving as value addition mechanism to port users.
“Technocrats and industry experts should be appointed to lead maritime agencies to ensure persistent development of the port sector driven by quality leadership.”
Noting the bureaucratic bottlenecks in government funding, stakeholders opined that workable funding approaches for the collapsing quay apron at the Tin Can Port and other similar challenges as well, will have to be addressed via private driven alternatives or Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).
MARAN, on her part, restated that it is crucial for the Nigerian ports to be run and controlled as efficient organisations pointing out that inefficiencies of the port will result in costly delays for ship owners, especially, when the daily costs of running a big container ship are so high.
On the other hand, it noted that port infrastructure dilapidation will result to poor national port image ranking globally and loss of vessel call at the Nigeria ports with associated revenue loss.
MARAN strongly believes that this is the era of MEGA CARRIERS, which entails that, a port is equipped with the most modern cargo handling facilities, so as to keep productivity at an optimum level.
It therefore frowned seriously at the deplorable state of the Nigerian ports and urged the government to rise to the occasion to support the Nigeria Ports Authority in its ports rehabilitation agenda.
MARAN equally promised to prioritize solution-based journalism to tackle critical challenges plaguing the nation’s maritime sector, especially under the result-driven leadership of the newly inaugurated executives.
Photo: Mr. Temisan Omatseye, former Director General, NIMASA; Mr. Godfrey Bivbere, MARAN President; Hon. Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council; Dr. Eugene Nweke, former National President, NAGAFF; Comrade Prince Adewale Adeyanju, President General, MWUN and Hon. Olubunmi Olumekun, President Boat Operators Association of Nigeria, BOAN during the Breakfast Meeting organized by MARAN in Lagos last week.
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