The Federal Government has assured that its perfecting plans to ensure that Nigerian Ports begins 24 hours operation.
Bashir Jamoh, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), disclosed this in Lagos after the second edition of the monthly meeting of heads of maritime parastatals, held at the NIMASA headquarters recently.
Jamoh said the meeting discussed issues bordering on maritime safety and security, port efficiency, intermodal transportation, as well as synergy among agencies in the sector.
He said the forum of CEOs of the agencies had given the maritime industry a platform to grow and contribute more to Nigeria’s economic development.
“This meeting is the second in the series and it has started yielding positive fruits. For instance, the issue of berthing the NIMASA floating dock, which has lingered for a couple of years, has been resolved through this meeting and very soon it would be deployed for use ,” he said.
According to him, the heads of agencies agreed to play their respective roles to facilitate the operation of 24 hours a day, seven days a week port services.
He said this would help to decongest the ports and tremendously impact on the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Federal Government.
Jamoh said the meeting constituted a committee to produce a work plan for the 24-hour port system, and agreed to carry communities around the port environments along in order to ensure safe operations within the port vicinities and beyond.
“We are looking at the workability of 24-hour port services to ease the pressure on our ports in terms of congestion. We also agreed to work with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on how movement of cargoes from the ports can be done by rail to reduce the pressure on our roads,” he said.
He further stated that “Our focus is also to ensure containers are moved by barges to dry ports outside the port environments. All these would help in the efficiency and effectiveness of our ports.”
Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), also emphasised the need for intermodal transport system in and around the port environments.
Usman said Nigeria must prioritise intermodal transportation to reap the benefits of shipping and port activities. She said the heads of maritime agencies agreed to work with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to facilitate movement of cargo from the ports by rail.
George Moghalu, maanaging director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said all the maritime agencies had agreed to work together to rid the Nigerian waters of unsafe craft and practices that endanger passengers and other users of the waterways.
On his part, Hassan Bello, executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, said the new synergy among the heads of maritime agencies was a significant building block for efficient economic activities within the country’s maritime domain.
Bello said the ultimate aim was to make Nigeria a maritime hub in Africa through efficient and effective maritime operations and infrastructure.