• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Ship berthing time at Nigerian ports reduces to 90 minutes – Ajani

Ship berthing time at Nigerian ports reduces to 90 minutes – Ajani

Following the increasing ease of ship inspection in the nation’s port terminals, the time it now takes oceangoing ships to berth in Nigerian ports has reduced from 5 hours to 90 minutes, Madgalene Ajani, permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMoT), has said.

Speaking in Lagos on Thursday during the flag-off of the ‘Operation Free the Port Corridor,’ by the Port Standing Task Team, a committee under the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Ajani attributed the development to the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM).

Ajani said the time used in resolving importers complaints has also reduced from 10 days to four hours.

To consolidate, Ajani said the team will move to reduce or completely eliminate the illegalities on the port corridors by removing illegal checkpoints.

According to her, the reduction in berthing and complaint time has helped in improving the ease of doing business, as well as efficiency at the seaport.

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While noting that the presence of 26 checkpoints along the port corridor has been hindering smooth delivery of containers to importers’ warehouses, she said the exercise will clean up the port roads for ease of cargo evacuation.

Ajani, however, said that to free the port corridor, there must be a holistic approach that will involve the support of other agencies at the nation’s seaport, adding that if achieved, it will further lead to ease of business at the port.

“We must agree that we can do this. And to be able to achieve this, we need to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that every agency operating in the port must follow. While coming here this morning, from the airport to Apapa port, it took just 40 minutes. This is evidence of what the Presidential Port Standing Task Team is doing,” she said.

Ajani, who pointed out that the ministry is moving forward with the issue of cleaning and clearing the port corridor judging by the improvement in the cargo evacuation today when compared to 14 years back, said there is need to consolidate on the achievements.

Earlier, Emmanuel Jime, executive secretary of the NSC, said the task team was set-up for the purpose of removing illegal checkpoints and shanties along the port corridors.

He applauded the level of buy-in obtained from the stakeholders, especially the public and private sectors, which demonstrates port users’ desire to rid the port corridors of the anomalies witnessed by people on a daily basis.

“This exercise, which is the flag-off, tagged ‘Operation Free the Ports,’ is fittingly named. Indeed, the port corridors are not free; the traffic does not have free flow, the shanties are not freeing spaces for conducive business environments, and the unnecessary checkpoints obviously do not make for an atmosphere free of extortion and other forms of corrupt practices,” Jime explained.

According to him, the exercise is the third in the series of activities of the task team since its inception in March, 2021.

He said the team started its monitoring and enforcement mandate at the Joint Boarding of vessels for inspection, where they ensured adherence to the provisions of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM).

“Following the success of the first phase, the team moved to the terminals in its second phase of activities to ensure a new culture of Joint Cargo Examination in compliance with the NPPM to foster global best practices. Today marks the implementation of the third phase as we embark on sanitising the ports corridors,” he added.

Olufunmilayo Olotu, port manager, Lagos Port Complex (LPC) Apapa, said that social miscreants mount illegal checkpoints at the port with the backup of security agencies.

She noted that bad road networks also contribute to congestion in the port.