No fewer than 1,204 modern cargo handling equipment have been acquired by private terminal operators at the nation’s seaports since 2006, according to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
General Manager, Compliance and Monitoring of NPA, Mr. Joshua Asanga, who disclosed this at a conference on ‘Monitoring and Compliance – The Experience of Compliance with Concessioning Agreement Eight Years After’ organized by the Nigerian Ports Authority in Lagos on Thursday, said that the equipment acquisition cut across the various terminals at the nation’s six major seaports.
The seaports include Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port both in Lagos; Delta Port, Warri; Calabar Port, Calabar; Rivers Port and Onne Port both in Rivers State.
The breakdown of the equipment, according to Asanga, include 578 acquired by operators at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, made up of Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited 82; ENL Consortium 138; GDNL 93; LCDNL 20 and APM Terminals 245.
Operators at the Tin Can Island Port acquired 383 cargo handling equipment made up of Joseph Dam 124; TICT 61; Port & Cargo Handling Services 161 and Five Star Logistics 37.
Intels and Julius Berger, both operators of Delta Port acquired 50 and 53 equipment respectively making a total of 103; while Calabar Port operators collectively acquired a total of 60 cargo handling equipment. They include Ecomarine Terminal 31; Intels 15 and Shore Line 14.
At Rivers Port, PTOL acquired 40 ccargo handling equipment while Bua acquired 8 bringing the total to 48 while the operator at Onne Port, Intels, acquired 32 equipment made up of 16 each at the Federal Ocean Terminal and Federal Lighter Terminal.
Asanga said the concessionaires have tremendously boosted efficiency in their areas of operation as seen in the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) recorded by NPA.
He said 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, said that tremendous sacrifices were made by government and private operators to achieve the milestone recorded in eight years of port concession.
“The Federal Government 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, said: “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 said.
Calling for the relocation of tank farms from the port area, Haastrup said, “Concentration of tank farms in the port environment has constituted serious security threat to lives and property thereby precipitating imminent crises.”
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar and Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi had in their separate speeches highlighted the benefits that port concession had brought to bear on the Nigerian economy.
Representatives of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) had also praised terminal operators and NPA for staying true to the aims and objectives of the concession programme.
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