APM Terminals has deployed equipment for fast cargo evacuation – Usman
The leading container operator, APM Terminals Apapa has deployed equipment and cranes necessary for fast evacuation of cargo at the Lagos Port Complex Apapa, Nigeria’s premiere port, Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has said.
Usman, who spoke on a TV programme monitored in Lagos recently, also decried the manual inspection of cargoes by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which she says does not promote port efficiency.
“With the deployment of the cranes by APM Terminals, they are now working assiduously with NPA in improving on the operational efficiency which will translate to an improved cargo evacuation for consignees outside of the port location,” she said.
According to her, there is also need for prompt deployment of scanners and automation of the cargo clearing process to reduce the burden of consignees using the nation’s seaport.
“We will continue to engage with our stakeholders but we recognise that we must enhance efficiency and ensure consignees get their cargo in a timely manner. Some of the things we are doing are pushing to ensure that vessels come in and cargoes evacuated in good time,” she said.
Usman, who stated that the authority is also working assiduously with the terminal operators and the Nigeria Customs Service to fast track the process of evacuating cargo from the vessel, and importantly the inspection of cargo, said that it is of great priority to the ports authority, government and more so for Customs.
“We need to deploy scanners at our ports so that our cargoes can be inspected using scanners. Right now, as a lot of consignees are aware that cargoes are inspected physically. You can imagine how difficult and challenging that would be having cargoes that come into the country examined physically. We need to make sure that we put in place automation mechanism to improve port efficiency, she added.
On NPA’s efforts to encourage intermodal transportation in cargo evacuation, Usman said that work is ongoing to connect the Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports by rail.
“One of the things we should recognise is that a port cannot function if 90 percent of its cargo is going by road. So, we must assiduously recognise the need for intermodal transportation system. That is why the Minister of Transportation has been actively pursuing a rail project. Right now, the contractors are working in linking the Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports with rail connection and that should be completed before the end of the year. Intermodal transportation is what will enable us address the congestion within the entrance of the Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports,” she said.
Usman further stated that NPA under its new board will ensure the realisation of deep seaport projects in the country.