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NPA LAUDS STOAN FOR ACQUIRING 1,204 EQUIPMENTS IN 8 YEARS

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…AS HAASYRUP ASSURED THAT THE BEST WAS YET TO COME

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has indicated that, the Seaport Terminals Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has acquired and introduced, no fewer than 1,204 modern cargo handling equipments, between 2006 and now, for enhanced cargo handling, at the nation’s seaports.

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

The NPA General Manager, Compliance and Monitoring, Mr. Joshua Asanga, who disclosed this at a conference withthe theme, ‘Monitoring and Compliance – The Experience of Compliance with Concessioning Agreement Eight Years After’ put together by the NPA in Lagos, last Thursday, noting that the equipment  acquisition actually, cut across the various terminals at the nation’s six major seaports.

Providing a breakdown, Asanga said that Lagos Port Complex led the packs with a total of 578 cargo-handling units out of which the Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited had 82; ENL Consortium 138; GDNL 93; LCDNL 20 and APM Terminals 245 units.

Speaking further, Asanga noted that the Terminal Operators at the Tin Can Island Port came second with the acquisition of 383 cargo handling equipments, consisting of Joseph Dam with 124 units; TICT 61; Port & Cargo Handling Services 161 and Five Star Logistics 37.

The Delta Ports Complex however came next with a total of 103 units, generated by the Intels and Julius Berger, with both operators contributing 50 and 53 equipment respectively. 

When the Calabar  Port operators, comprising of Ecomarine Terminal 31; Intels 15 and Shore Line 14.; collectively acquired a total of 60 cargo handling equipment. 

The Rivers Port Complex which the records showed, came second to the last, had only 48 cargo handling equipment, because the, PTOL acquired 40 ccargo handling units, when the Bua managed to come up with only 8 units; while the operator at Onne Port which came last, Intels, acquired 32 equipment made up of 16 each at the Federal Ocean Terminal and Federal Lighter Terminal. In other words, the Brawal may still be in process of generating any vital equipment yet.

Offering his candid view, Asanga lauded the concessionaires, stressing that their collective efforts had tremendously boosted efficiency in their areas of operation as seen in the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) recorded by NPA.

He noted that, as against an average vessel waiting time of about 30 days before port concession, terminals such as APM Terminals, Ecomarine, PTML and Intels Calabar have successfully eliminated vessel-waiting time to zero while ABTL has 2.8 days and ENL 1.4 days as against an average general cargo vessel waiting time of about 45 days prior to concession.

Speaking earlier at the same event in her goodwill address, Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, highlighted that tremendous sacrifices were made by government and private operators to achieve the milestone recorded in eight years of port concession.

“The Federal Government’s Port Concession programme began in 2005/2006 with agreements entered into by and between the Bureau Of Public Enterprises (BPE) as confirming party for the Lessor and mid-wife of the entire scheme, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as the Lessor and Terminal Operators as the Lessee.

“These agreements were duly executed by respective parties indicating that all parties to the agreement know exactly what obligations are imposed on them.
“In the last eight years of port concession, a lot of positive changes and developments have taken place in all our ports, as highlighted below:

“Rehabilitation and reconstruction of quay aprons and stacking areas; expansion and reconstruction of container terminals; rehabilitation of terminal access roads; provision of lightening facilities including generating sets; rehabilitation of the sheds/warehouses; reconstruction of drainages; construction of perimeter fencing and gate houses; and improved workshop facilities of modern standards,” Haastrup, who was represented by the Managing Director of PTOL Terminal, Mrs. Lizzy Ovbude, said.

On plants and equipment, Hasstrup said tremendous progress has also been made by the terminal operators as they have invested heavily in the acquisition of modern state of the art forklifts and acquisition of container handlers for cellular trade demand such as gantry cranes, reach stackers, handlers and others.

She said the terminal operators were also successful in streamlining stevedoring companies; establishment of an acceptable manning scale to ensure high productivity; application of direct interview selection; employment  of dock labours with joint effort of stevedoring contractors under the supervision of NIMASA; elimination of zoning and permanent  berth ownership by dock labours; improved salary structure and better welfare packages and training and re-training as well as capacity building opportunities.

The terminal operators’ investment and application of strategic measures, according to her, resulted in continuous ship discharge/loading operation within the working time without erratic stoppage of ship operations; strict monitoring of allocated labour to achieve projected productivity; achievement of high level of discipline and control of extortion; eradication of pilferages and reduction of damages to cargoes and properties as a result of effective safety and security management; improved turn-around time of vessels leading to increased productivity and elimination of under-declaration of cargoes, leading to more revenue generation for the government , due to draft survey exercise and effective documentation.

On security, the STOAN Chairman, indicated: “In addressing the security challenges of the ports, the concessionaires apart from constructing standardized perimeter fencing, made the following provisions: A well trained security outfit, that is compliant with the (NIMASA) certification in compliance to ISPS Code; installation of security gadgets such as CCTV, and improved communication system and construction of security posts and watch towers at designated areas in the terminal.”

“Waterfront security to an extent has improved in some ports.  In order to forestall fraud and other corrupt vices associated with bureaucratic processes, concessionaires have expended huge capital in the establishment of I.T compliant processes, which also are connected to the Nigeria Customs Service system, thereby reducing terminal service-time and unnecessary procedures,” she said.

Haastrup said relevant statutory agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service, NPA, NIMASA and others have contributed to the present port development and trade facilitation by channel expansion and draught increase which have enhanced larger vessels reception, creation of ships’ lane according to trade for effective traffic control and developing the concept of Build Operate And Transfer (BOT) on Green Field Port development which has increased capacity expansion and service choice.

“The effects of these well-deserved huge capital investment are the improvement in the Cargo Throughput and Vessel Traffic generation.

“Let me assure you that the Terminal Operators will continue to add value to the port system in Nigeria to be able to compete favourably with other ports of the world.

“The operators here in the last eight years have done comprehensive economic and infrastructural developments in our various terminals.
“We have created jobs and promoted industrial harmony with the hope of making Nigerian ports the hub of Africa. The figures of revenue accruing to the Nigeria Customs Service, NIMASA, NPA which are all government agencies are testimonies to this statement.  In the face of dwindling revenue, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly re-energize the port concession by passing the Port and Harbours Bill currently before the National Assembly,” she posited, pleading for the relocation of tank farms from the port area.  

 “Concentration of tank farms in the port environment has constituted serious security threat to lives and property thereby precipitating imminent crises” Haastrup concluded.

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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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