ENL Consortium Nigeria Limited weekend won the Most Outstanding Maritime Operator of the Year 2017 at the Independent Awards organised by Independent Newspapers.
ENL Consortium, which is the operator of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex Apapa, was one of the 27 recipients at the prestigious awards held in Lagos on Saturday night.
The award is coming on the heels of a similar honour bestowed on the company when it won the Port and Container Terminal Development Award at the prestigious Seatrade International Award held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of ENL Consortium, Princess Vicky Haastrup, who dedicated the award to “all the hardworking management and staff” of the company, said all hands must be on deck to promote the development of the maritime sector.
Haastrup, who doubles as the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), said ENL Consortium has made substantial investment in human and material resources to enable the country realize the benefits of port concession.
“We have good people working with us and I am happy to dedicate this award t all of them – the hardworking, committed and patriotic staff of ENL Consortium, who work day and night to ensure that ships are promptly discharged and cargoes are delivered in good time to their owners.
“When we came into the port in 2006, the terminals handed over to us to manage were at ground zero. Nothing was working. The equipment were not functional, there were endless ship queues even as touts called the shot. The morale of workers was at its lowest ebb.
“But immediately we resumed duty, we turned the story around. Today, we have dockworkers who are proud to be called dockworkers because they now have good conditions of service. We have acquired modern cargo handling equipment to ensure that ships are discharged in good time.
“We also embarked on massive civil engineering works to ensure that we developed the terminal and raised its operational standard to what is obtainable in the ports of advanced countries.
“To put an end to touting, I personally led the battle against the category of people called ‘wharf rats’ who were a menace to the system. Today the terminal is professionally run. Things are working well inside the port and our country is the better for it,” she said.
Haastrup, however, said that notwithstanding the success recorded by the Federal Government’s port concessioning programme, the dilapidated state of the port access road remains a huge challenge to the Nigerian maritime industry.
She said, “The port reform and port concessioning programme has not just brought about a more efficient port system, it has also tripled government revenue realized through the ports. However, the major challenge facing us all today is the dysfunctional state of the Wharf Road and the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
“These roads are the major arteries of both the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. If these roads are given due attention by government, Nigerians will enjoy more benefits of port concession.”
The Managing Director of Independent Newspapers, Mr. Ade Ogidan, said the awards was organised to recognise and honour individuals and corporate organisations that have made significant contributions to the development of Nigeria.
He said the award winners emerged through a painstaking process, which ensured that only those who have excelled and are outstanding in their various spheres of endeavours, were honoured.
The Chairman of Bulet Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Ismaila Isa Funtua, who chaired the awards presentation ceremony, commended Independent Newspapers and its publishers for their doggedness and commitment to information dissemination.
Funtua charged Independent and other mass media concerns to uphold the unity of the country by not promoting news that fan the embers of discord.
Other recipients of the award include Globacom, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), United Bank for Africa, Alhaji Razak Akanni Okoya, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Others are Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Osun State Deputy Governor Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, among others.