Diamond Star begins export processing operations at Lilypond Terminal

Diamond Star Port and Terminals Ltd, has commenced operations at its export processing terminal in Lilypond, Ijora-Apapa, commissioned last week by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Diamond Star was licensed by NPA as the operator of the Lilypond Export Terminal located at Ijora-Apapa, making the company the ‘central pre-gate’ for processing all export containers going to Lagos Ports through roads and railway.

It has two terminals – Okota and the Lilypond. The Okota terminal will serve Tin-Can Island Port while the Lilypond will serve Apapa port.

At the commissioning, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the NPA, commended the management of Diamond Star Port and Terminals for meeting NPA’s requirements which aided its selection.

He attributed the company’s selection to its competence, capacity, and work ethic to perform creditably well. He however expressed confidence that the terminal operator will bring added value to the export value chain in Nigeria.

Bello-Koko said the terminal being a pre-gate for processing all export-bound containers entering Lagos Ports, using the road corridors, was a demonstration of the premium placed on speed and priority in the handling of exports – in a bid to make Nigeria’s exports competitive in the global market place.

“This initiative will improve NPA’s commitment to the implementation of the National Action Plan on agro-export of the Federal Government, and help to fulfill the government’s desire to diversify the national economy from oil export to non-oil export. Export Processing Terminals are holding areas positioned in Lagos and Ogun States to help exporters prepare their arrivals at port terminals in view of the traffic challenges observed over time in Lagos,” he explained.

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According to him, the Authority is by this initiative positioning to infuse greater efficiency into the logistics surrounding the entry of the export boxes into the ports and the eventual loading on sea-going vessels.

Adeyanju Aremu, the assistant comptroller general of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone A, said Customs has developed Standard Operating Procedure in line with global standards to remove impediments along the export chain.

Olatunji Baale, the managing director of Diamond Star Port and Terminals, described the firm as a fully integrated cargo and terminal logistic company, with core competence and expertise in port and terminal operations, barge operations, cargo handling services, outer port terminal operations, warehousing services, and all related ports and cargo handling services.

He said the terminal will add immense value to the operations of the company, and to the Nigerian economy. He also assured that the company is fully ready for the commencement of operations and will see to a seamless delivery of export cargo boxes to the vessels.

“We have all the government agencies that are in charge of examination and processing of export terminals,” he said.

On her part, Oyeyemi Ayeyemi, the director of Strategy and Business Development, commended the forward-thinking approach of the NPA to port operations.

She also acknowledged the impact of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in promoting export and providing guidance and training for exporters, the Nigeria Customs Service, and other government agencies for working hard to ensure that export meets international standards.

According to her, Diamond Star will do its best to ensure that the movement of containers from different warehouses of the exporters gets to the port in good time to encourage more volume.

“We also want to encourage those who have been discouraged in export business as a result of processes at the port. We hope that such people and businesses will seize the opportunity of our offering to start rethinking their business strategies, knowing that Diamond Star Export Processing Terminals will be willing to support them and enhance their businesses,” she said.

Oyeyemi called on Nigerians to engage in export business in order to increase foreign exchange earnings and improve the economy.

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