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Nigerian Seaports Are Exceeding Expectations – Mohammed Bello

Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko

Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko

Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has come out to say that Nigerian seaports are operating beyond their capacities.

Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) recently revealed this to the press.

According to him, the two Lagos seaports located in Lekki and Tin Can Island are currently working more than expected and that is very commendable.

He added that if these ports were built to handle 500,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), for instance, they are now handling about 700, 000 TEUs.

His words, “What it simply means is that if they were built to handle 500,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), for instance, they are now handling about 700, 000 TEUs.”

“There is no space to expand the ports. What we need to do is to improve on the activities in the ports, in terms of efficiency.”

“In 2006, when NPA concessioned the terminals, there was a Development Plan between the NPA and the terminal operators and that development plan included both physical development and the deployment of equipment.”

“The terminal operators have met those agreements and everything has evolved, but there is need for bigger and more efficient equipment, better Information Technology IT systems, and so on.”

“We have seen an improvement in terms of efficiency; there is increase in efficiency. But there is room for more. We have observed system downtime in one or two of the terminals, especially the APM Terminals, which is one of the terminals.”

“Whenever APM Terminal system is down, it causes a lot of backlog in terms of traffic.”

“What we have done is to sit down with the terminal operators and tell them that they need to improve on their operations; we have Monitoring and Regulatory Department in the NPA, which has an index that, on a monthly basis, we look at the operations and grade them.”

“We also sit with them at the end of the quarter to discuss their performance; we examine where they have done well and where they are lagging behind.”

“We have also emphasised the need for better synergy between what the terminal operators are doing and the shipping lines, because some of them also have affiliated shipping lines working with them.”

“To improve the operations within the ports, we came up with a policy that established empty container holding bays and we mandated all shipping lines to ensure that they have a holding bay outside the port premises for their empties.”

“This is to ensure that importers, when they take away their cargo from the port to offload at their business premises or warehouse, do not bring the empty container into the port.”

“Second, we mandated that for every vessel that comes into Nigeria, when it is sailing out, it must take away at least 80 per cent of the containers it brought in, either as empty or as export cargo, because Nigeria was already being turned into a dumping ground for empty containers.”

“To a large extent, that has worked because those empty containers have been removed. But we are ensuring that such is being monitored and efficiency has increased.”


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