By Samson Echenim
Indications have emerged that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has sought capacity enhancement and skill transfer with the Port of Antwerp in Belgium as the NPA has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the management of the seaport in Western Europe, where more than 40 percent of cargo traffic to West Africa originates.
The MoU between the two port entities is also expected to strengthen their bilateral relations, according Hadiza Usman Balla, managing director of NPA, who briefed stakeholders on the new partnership with Port of Antwerp when a delegation of the port visited the NPA headquarters, Marina, Lagos on Wednesday.
Represented by Sokonte Davies, Balla said “apart from resulting in a boost in efficiency through expertise, development and digitalisation, the MoU would ensure simultaneous growth with new skills being acquired and new trends opened.”
The agreement which will last for five years effective November 27th, 2019 is expected to broaden technical skills and practical knowledge for the NPA.
“The MoU covers vast areas which includes infrastructure, stimulation of trade growth as well as concreting enabling environment for the tenets of Public Private Partnership (PPP) to thrive between the two ports,” NPA said in a statement by Jatto Adams, general manager, Corporate and Strategic Communicatrions.
“West Africa takes a large share in the traffic of Port of Antwerp. It is therefore our ambition to further strengthen our position in West Africa. We aim to pass our know-how and experience,” said Annick De Rider, president Port of Antwerp, who was quoted in the statement.
“We hope that this mission will create new fruitful contacts, new connections and new business opportunities in order to ensure future growth for years to come,” he added.
In his contribution, Emmanuel Olajide Adesoye, chairman, Board of Directors, NPA said the industry expect the two port organisations to leverage on each other’s expertise for growth in trade, which would result in economic development for the two countries.
The Port of Antwerp is the second largest seaport in Europe that aims for flexibility, response to a rapidly evolving maritime market, allowing the port to continue playing roles in cooperation, adaptability and focusing greatly on digitalisation.