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NPA moves to establish Port Community System for ease of doing business

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“The system will bring together all stakeholders in the port community and facilitate ease of doing business in the ports.”

By Uzor Odigbo

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has disclosed plans to kick start the process of establishing a Port Community System (PCS) with the support of the government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the technical advisory of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Mohammed Bello-Koko, NPA Managing Director disclosed this on Monday, December 19 in Lagos at a programme put together by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON).

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Bello-Koko stated that the system will bring together all stakeholders in the port community aimed to facilitate ease of doing business in the ports.

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Port Community System is an electronic platform which connects the multiple systems operated by a variety of organisations that make up a seaport, airport or inland port community.

The Managing Director who was represented by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication at NPA, Mrs Yemisi Oyinlola, spoke in a paper titled “Nigeria and the Evolving New Port Order.”

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She noted that: “Our role as port players is to position the port on the part of competitiveness with a focus on quality port services and the right pricing. This is what underpins trade facilitation ideals which would ultimately expand the frontiers of trade and foster economic growth.

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“It is pertinent to note that with the backing of the government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the technical advisory of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Nigerian Ports Authority has kick-started the process of establishing a Port Community System (PCS).

“The system will bring together all stakeholders in the port community and facilitate ease of doing business in the ports,” she said.

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Koko-Bello reiterated that for Nigeria to maximize the benefits of a blue economy, both downstream and upstream operations have to be fully explored pointing out that the shipping business must be taken beyond mere vessel and cargo handling at the port but must include other services such as bunkering, insurance, hinterland connectivity etc.

According to him, “Maritime activities are made up of downstream and upstream operations. Downstream operation is principally made up of Port operation and Bunkering, while upstream consists of Insurance, connectivity logistics and shipping activities.

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“Ironically, Nigeria operates only in the port operation aspect of the downstream operation. Even the port operation is not performing optimally due to a number of inherent challenges.

“Today, Nigeria has not fully utilized the opportunity offered by the upstream maritime economy. This explains why the Maritime sector has not contributed substantially to the Nigerian economy.

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“In an effort to reposition the Nigerian economy, particularly the maritime sector, the managers of our economy need to pay requisite attention,” Bello-Koko stressed.

On the initiatives by NPA to facilitate trade through the sea, the MD affirmed that management has taken up the gauntlet and embarked on certain initiatives towards repositioning Nigerian Ports on the path of competitiveness, and rehabilitation of port access roads to improve hinterland connectivity.

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He added that the electronic truck-traffic Call-up system is aimed towards addressing Truck congestion along the port access road and has been effective saying that management has licensed thirty-seven Satellite Truck Parks (with the capacity to accommodate 7,000 trucks) to service the incoming trucks to the ports in Lagos under the Electronic Truck Call-Up System (ETO) which became operational in July 2021.

The Managing Director also averred that registration and licensing of Twenty-Eight empty containers holding bays with a total capacity of 137,000 TEUs have come tackle the traffic situation along the port corridors.

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