Former Minister of the Interior and Chairman, Genesis Worldwide Shipping Limited and Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho has called on the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to redesign the Lagos Apapa Port Area to provide for truck holding bays so as to end the gridlock on the port access roads and function optimally.
Ihenacho, who stated this in Lagos, also tasked the NPA to do an aerial survey around Apapa and redesign the entire area to create more stacking areas at the ports. Doing so, Ihenacho, said would effectively reduce and contain the perennial gridlock on ports access roads.
“NPA should look at the property along Creek Road that are not in good use, meet their owners and pay them a commensurate compensation to take over the property. NPA should knock the property down and convert them to infrastructure such as stacking areas, holding bays and truck parks.
“If the NPA considers this suggestion of taking over some abandoned property around the ports area, I strongly believe that constant gridlock will disappear in Apapa ports,” he said.
He noted that if the Ibom Deep Sea Port is properly funded and administered when it comes fully on stream, it would adequately accommodate goods going to the Eastern parts of the country.
He advised the NPA management to take advantage of infrastructure currently existing in Port-Harcourt and renew berthing facilities, so as to significantly reduce the berthing pressure in Lagos ports.
Ihenacho, posited that the Lagos ports were presently over-utilised because the berth spaces were not increasing and the infrastructure were developed more than 40 years ago.
He stressed that but for Dangote and Flour Mills of Nigeria intervention through the current road repair, the ports access roads story would have been more frightening.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, recently assured stakeholders in the maritime industry of its renewed vigour and determination at improving on its operational efficiency and accomplishments recorded in 2018 in the new-year.
Also, she promised terminal operators and port users that it would further open its doors for all players to surmount various bottlenecks with a view to providing a healthy and smooth environment for all Stakeholders.
Bala-Usman, who stated this in a statement assured port users of NPA’s renewed efforts towards the swift evacuation of cargoes from the Nigerian ports to the hinterlands and Nigeria’s land locked neighbours.
While recalling the Ease of Doing Business introduced by the federal government, she disclosed that the NPA has partnered notable organisations and the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing for the reconstruction of dilapidated roads within the Ports axis for efficient Port Services across board.
“Management would sustain and step up the culture of efficiency and transparency. It reiterates that it has put in place structures to drive this dream through the launch of the Revenue Income Management System (RIMS), which is a web based billing and revenue collection application fully automated for the entire billing circle of the NPA amongst others.
“The authority wishes to inform all of its desire at improved collaboration with sister agencies towards a more seamless operation in the ports environments with intent to reduce human contact.
“In this regard, it is partnering with the Nigerian Custom Service (NCS) for the quick facilitation of the Single Window platform aimed at simplifying and harmonising formalities, procedures and the related exchange of information which will be a major priority in the coming year.
“Management further assures all willing investors of its renewed determination at attracting investments to the Ports across the country through infrastructural development. Management wishes to stress that there has been constant dredging of the Channels to attain the expected draught level for incoming vessels at our Ports. This is expected to lead an unprecedented revenue generation and with the expectation that this effort would further be surpassed in the new-year,” she said.
Management assures all of its unflinching support in building on the successes of the Sector towards the growth and development of the nation especially in the area of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and economic rebound in the near future.