The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has appealed to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Onne Port Command, to reduce the incidence of detaining already cleared containers at the Onne Port gate.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the NPA, made the appeal during a stakeholders’ interactive session held in Onne while on his maiden visit to the port.
According to him, the development goes contrary to the requirements of the Federal Government’s ease of doing business agenda and even against international best practices.
“We plead with the Nigeria Customs to please look into that because we saw a lot of containers at the gate, and it does not augur well for the rating of Nigerian ports,” Bello-Koko said.
He assured Onne Port users that the NPA would give expedited attention to most of the challenges in the port that were left unattended due to budgetary constraints as most of them have been accommodated in the 2022 budget.
“We know there are challenges relating to towage, issues of security both along the channel, and at terms, within the port but working with the Nigerian Navy, the NPA will come up with more patrol and security deployments. We are also reviewing the contract of the towage company to ensure that the company either deploys more equipment or we appoint a new company,” he said.
Earlier, Stanley Yitnoe, Onne port manager, said the Port has sustained the reception of WAFMAX vessels with over 4,000TEUs of containers.
“The port recorded over 31 percent increase in cargo throughput in 2021 and has achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification. There has been an improvement in terminal development, and we have commenced barge operation as well as pilot operation of export processing terminal by WACT,” he said.
According to him, the port has deployed a manual call-up system while awaiting the deployment of an electronic call-up by the NPA management.
He added that there has been growing interest from the private sector investors in the development and expansion of the port.
He listed the challenges facing the port including infrastructure deficit, the poor state of the access road to the port, and a shortage of manpower among others.