Nigerian ports to become fully digital by 2025 – Bello-Koko

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the acting managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has said that deliberate measures and investments are being undertaken by the NPA to fully digitalise all the country’s ports by 2025.

He said this while giving a presentation on NPA’s ‘Digitalisation Roadmap and Current Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Implementation Status,’ at the 41st Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) Annual Council Meeting and 16th Roundtable Conference of Managing Directors of PMAWCA, in Douala – Cameroon.

He said a five year plan is now being implemented by the Authority for the attainment of a fully digitalised port system in Nigeria.

Bello-Koko said a lot of work has gone into the smart port transformation agenda of the NPA, aimed at creating paperless, time saving and cost efficient port operations.

Represented by Idris Abubakar, the executive director, Engineering and Technical Services, he disclosed that the NPA first deployed a main computer system in 1975 to improve its payroll management, billing, statistical and accounting systems.

According to him, the deployment of personal computers at each port location was from 1992 to ease data management, and information sharing.

He said in 2011 that the Authority reviewed its ICT strategy in line with its new role as landlord, following the concession of port terminals in 2006.

“The adoption by NPA of a phased ICT deployment is geared towards achieving a fully integrated port operating system; to foster relationship with all internal and external stakeholders, to streamline NPA’s internal business processes; make use of high-end smart technologies; record, monitor and utilise data for better decision making,” he said.

With the international supply chain faced with several disruptions, the NPA boss said the Authority intends to focus on the smartness level of the port than the size of the port in order to optimise productivity and meet the expectations of port users.

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According to him, “NPA our goal is to leverage technology to close the gap between us and the major international ports. A digitalised port helps in making better informed operational decisions, increased efficiency, improves collaboration amongst stakeholders, lower port costs and ultimately helps to meet the ever increasing customer expectations in a timely manner,” he said.

So far, the Authority has deployed a portfolio of systems and infrastructure towards the actualisation of its ICT objectives, he said.

These include Oracle Enterprise Business Suite for financial and human resources planning; Billing/Revenue and Invoice Management System (RIMS) to fast-track billing processing; Customer Portal/electronic Ship Entry Notice (eSEN)/Manifest Upload for shipping traffic management; Hyperion Budgeting for management of annual budget; Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence System (3Ci) for maritime domain awareness and management of vessel calls; Truck Call Up and Gate Access Control for the control and schedule of trucks to the ports as well as manage truck traffic around the port corridor.

Micheal Luguje, president of PMAWCA and director-general of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), described the conference theme; ‘Digitalised Port as a model of Port Efficiency,’ as very relevant because Covid-19 has indeed change trade and ways of life.

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