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GOVT. DEMANDS RECORDS OF NON-COMPLIANT TERMINAL OPERATORS

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…As NPA scores APMT high and TICT, Five Stars, Brawal low

The Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, on Thursday directed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to furnish his office with detailed reports of concessionaires’ performance, especially of those who were yet to comply with the concession agreement.

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

The Minister gave the directive in Lagos, on the occasion of the 8th Year Monitoring and Compliance Conference, even as the Ports Authority gave a breakdown of concessionaires equipments acquisitions which showed that the APMT had acquired 245 units; Ports and Cargo 161 units; ENL Consortium 138 units, when the TICT has only 61 units, the Five Stars only 37 units and the Brawal had none.

Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council

Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council

Idris, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello,  also assured that if non compliance attracted no sanctions in the past, it would no longer be treated with kids glove, stressing that the Federal Government introduced ports concession so as to improve efficiency in port operations.

Idris, who posited that the port reform was meant to reduce the cost of port services and  promote competition in provision of port services, said it was however, yet to achieve its cardinal purpose of making Nigerian ports the hub for international trade and shipping in West and Central Africa sub-region.

“The concession has brought us increase in local and foreign investments in infrastructure and cargo handling improvement which has increased cargo throughput by volume of trade.

“From 82 million tonnes in 2012; with container volume at 1.4 million TEU’s in 2011 1.6 million TEUs in 2012 and 1.7million TEU’s in 2013”, Idris said.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Malam Habib Abdullahi, relief on, had expressed satisfaction with the fortune of the Authority, highlighting that the concession enabled the authority to make history, beginning from 2006, in tandem with the economic reform agenda of the government.

Habib however noted that it was not the entire ports that were concessioned, but cargo handling operations, to private terminal operators through international competitive bidding.

“The port concession arrangements devised roles and allocate different obligations to both NPA and the concessionaries.

“Obligations were allocated based on what each party can do best.

“These issues relating to regulations, security, infrastructure, access, marine service and channel management were allocated to NPA”, Abdullahi said, noting that the arrangements also transferred issues of cargo handling, commercial risk, provision of superstructure, terminal development and terminal labour to the terminal operators; adding that it was for this essence that NPA set up an appropriate framework for monitoring and compliance.

“A new division was established to carry out this task and report to the management every quarter.

“This task is handled by a committee comprising departments that have responsibilities on the issue of obligations of the parties,’’ Abdullahi said.

He said that the task of monitoring and compliance was key to NPA because it was the vehicle that would enable the realisation of the added value of private operators.

Abdullahi identified the NPA as a direct beneficiary in partnership with the concesssionaires, adding that it also represented other institutional obligations as demanded by the concession agreement.

He, however, said the eight years of port concession had been full of excitement and challenges, especially  as it saddled the organisation with the responsibility of managing expectations of the concessionaires.

Speaking in the same vein, a member of the Senate Marine Committee, Olugbenga Obadara, commended NPA’s efforts for carrying out its obligations diligently.

“I have visited all the terminals in Lagos and I love the way the Managing Director of NPA has handled the issue of bonded terminals with passion.

“The NPA’s managing director also makes sure that the bonded terminals are able to keep their businesses moving,’’ he indicated further, lauding the growing enabling environment and legislative responsibility.

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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