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NPA BLAMES FG FOR POOR PERFORMANCE

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From KAY ATOFOLAKI

The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) has blamed its poor performances in 2013 on FG’s fiscal measures

While most government agencies were busy smiling to the banks by posting good results and performances in 2013, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the other hand, was blaming its poor performance in same period on the Federal Government.

In a recent 2013 scorecard released by the blue-chip parastatal, the Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, blamed government’s fiscal measures that restricted some imports into the country and other sundry factors as the Authority’s operational bane.

In the 2013 ports’ performance report signed on his behalf by the Assistant General Manager (AGM), Public Affairs, Mallam Musa Iliya, he said that market forces were part of factors that limited the activities of the NPA in the year under review.

“Recent research revealed that, generally, each port is being shaped by the market forces dictated by the commodity demand and by the particular port user”. He said, adding that
“the decline experienced in some products can be linked to general economic factor.

In dry bulk, for instance, he explained that there is ban on the importation of cement adding that this, coupled with the increase in rice tariff has reduced the importation of the commodity to the country through Nigerian ports, but through smuggling by another route.

“The European debt crises gave birth to the decrease in Liquefied Natural Gas, many of their industries have closed down, and so the demand for our product was low. They have also discovered an alternative means of production in the Middle East. He said.

According to him, “the petroleum product liberalization, growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and the Transformation Agenda (of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration) resulting in increase in construction works have had an unprecedented economic impact on the port industry”.

The performance report however, stated that, a cargo throughput, excluding crude oil terminals of 76,886,997 million metric tons (mt) was handled at all Nigerian ports in 2013, reflecting a marginal increase of 0.042.6 per cent over the 2012 figure of 76,855,754 mt.
A breakdown of the figure showed that container traffic amounted to 1,010,836 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), reflecting a growth of 15.2 per cent over the 877,737 TEUs posted in 2012.
Also, a total of 291,824 units of vehicles were handled in the period under review, showing an increase of 8.9 per cent over the 268,026 units recorded in 2012.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment handled in the period amounted to 19,341,663 metric tons, a drop of 12.7 per cent from the 22,146,908 mt posted in 2012.
On the hand, refined petroleum shipment handled was in 2013 was 19,416,043 mt, showing an increase of 9.5 per cent over the 17,730,727 mt recorded in the previous year.
Dry bulk cargo handled at the ports in the reviewed period totaled to 9,537,447 mt, a decline of 6.5 per cent from the 10,205,339 mt posted the previous year, even as general cargo handled was 11,964,978 mt, indicating a 5.8 per cent drop from the 12,702,826 mt recorded in 2012.
“In year 2013, the total of 5,185 oceans-going vessels with a total gross registered tonnage (GRT) of 131,674,337 gross tons called at Nigerian ports” the statement indicated.

Similarly, in the period under review, the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) recorded 34,466,291GRT, reflecting an increase of 9.4 per cent over the 31,513,987 GRT posted in 2012, even as a total of 1,498vessels were handled at same facility in 2013.

While 1,725 ocean-going vessels were handled at the Tin Can Island Port Complex (TCIP) in 2013, the statement added that the port recorded 42,758,161 GRT, which is 23.2 per cent increase over the 34,703,547 GRT of 2012.

Unlike the two Western ports, the LPC and the TCIP, which both experienced increased GRT in 2013 over the 2012 figures, their Eastern counterparts, Calabar Port Complex, Rivers Port Complex, and Onne Port Complex, suffered drops in GRT in 2013, when compared to 2012.
The Calabar Port Complex recorded 2,792,488 GRT, a decline of 2.8 per cent compared with the 2,871,622 GRT of 2012with same facility recording 197 ocean-going vessels in 2013.

In the same vein, the Rivers Port Complex recorded 6,394,270 GRT, which is a 7.9 per cent drop when compared with the 6,929,179 GRT recorded in 2012 with 447 ocean-going vessels registered.

Also, the Onne Port Complex recorded 38,967,131GRT in 2013, reflecting a decrease of 7.4 per cent as against the 42,062,351 GRT witnessed in 2012 and 820 vessels in the period under review.

The Delta Port Complex, also part of the NPA Eastern ports, was however an exception from the mentioned trio above having recorded 6,295,996 GRT in 2013, a phenomenal increase of 105 per cent over the 3,069,887 GRT the port posted in 2012. It equally handled 498 vessels in 2013.

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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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