The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has expressed optimism that Nigeria will achieve port automation and necessary integration ahead of the IMO 2025 deadline set for member countries.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the NPA, gave the assurance at the ongoing 33rd session of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) General Assembly in London.
According to him, the Ports Authority is concluding plans to deploy the port community system (PCS), which will enable the nation’s economy to harvest more benefits from the blue economy.
Bello-Koko described the initiative as a game changer that will integrate all stakeholders within the maritime sector, promote the national economy, and support the security of vessels, crew members, and cargoes within the Nigerian maritime domain.
The NPA MD, who is on the entourage of Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, and Magdalene Ajani, permanent secretary of the Ministry, said the port community system will foster transparency, support ease of doing business and trade facilitation.
He explained some steps taken by the authority to set the PCS in motion ahead of the 2025 IMO deadline to include the development of automation-based processes.
“In the past, before the introduction of e-sen, (Electronic Ship Entry Notice), it takes about two weeks from the time of application to the time of approval and issuance of the ship entry notice certification.
“However, since the introduction of electronic processing of ship entry notice, it takes about one hour for a function that used to take up to one or two weeks, depending on the idiosyncrasies of the man on the table and all the table the documents need to pass through,” Bello-Koko said.
He said the system would save the cost of doing business and make Nigerian ports trade-friendly by carrying out a function of two weeks in one hour and enhance faster ship turnaround time
He added that NPA’s collaborative efforts with the IMO to achieve a world-class port community system are at an advanced stage and would soon migrate into implementation in line with global standards.
Bello-Koko added that while in London, the Minister will lead Nigeria’s delegation into a series of bilateral meetings with Ministers of Marine affairs of Greece, Mexico, and Qatar to set the stage for improved Nigeria’s participation in global maritime trade.