In an effort to enhance Nigeria’s trade competitiveness, the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), has announced a $1.1 billion investment to rehabilitate all ports in the country in the first quarter of 2024.
Mohammed Bello-Koko,NPA’s managing director, made the disclosure during a panel session at the 43rd Annual Council Meeting of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa in Lagos on Tuesday.
NPA plans to rehabilitate all of Nigeria’s ports, starting with the Tincan Island and Apapa Ports in Lagos, according to Bello-Koko. He stated that NPA’s objective is to enhance the physical infrastructure of these ports to accommodate vessels of all sizes and increase the draft at the quayside. He said that increasing the draft depth to 14 meters will make Nigerian ports more competitive globally.
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Bello-Koko also said that NPA is working with the private sector to build new seaports. He noted that the Lekki Deep Seaport has already begun operations, and the Badagry Deep Seaport recently signed an agreement with a Middle Eastern company, with construction expected to begin early next year.
The NPA boss noted that these endeavors exemplify the NPA’s determination to create a multimodal transportation system connecting all ports seamlessly.
Speaking on the challenges of cargo evacuation by road, Bello-Koko said the agency was actively working on alternative initiatives like barges and also expanding rail infrastructure.
“The survey for deploying cargo rail and tracks to Onne port has been completed, setting the stage for the project to kick off next year. The authority has automated its collection system and is collaborating with the International Maritime Organization to introduce a state-of-the-art port community system, poised to optimise cargo clearance processes. The authority is working on clarifying the responsibilities of government agencies within the ports with the newly developed port process manual aimed to reduce overlaps and eliminate duplication of duties,’’ he said.
The NPA MD said the agency is addressing security challenges in the waterways with the deployment of the Deep Blue Sea Project, which includes air and sea assets to increase security in the Gulf of Guinea and reduce piracy incidents. He also said NPA was working with the Nigerian Customs Service to reduce bottlenecks and cut the cost of doing business in the ports. He also discussed the development of a 25-year port master plan to guide the location, size, and activities of ports, terminals, and jetties in Nigeria.