The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has announced that the sum of $1.1 billion will be spent on ports rehabilitation in the first quarter of 2024 to fortify Nigeria’s trade competitiveness.
This was made known by the Managing Director of NPA, Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, while speaking in a panel session at the 43rd Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) conference held on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, in Lagos.
Bello said that almost every port in Nigeria requires rehabilitation while NPA is initiating a substantial overhaul for all ports, starting with the TinCan and Apapa ports in Lagos.
- He said, “The objective of the authority is to enhance the physical infrastructure of these ports to accommodate vessels of all sizes and increase the draft at the quayside.
- “Increasing the draft is with the aim of achieving draft depths of up to 14 meters and this initiative will render Nigerian ports more competitive on a global scale.’’
Collaboration with the private sector for new seaports
Bello-Koko further stated that the NPA was also strengthening collaborations with the private sector to establish new seaports.
Notably, he said, the Lekki Deep Seaport had already commenced operations, and the Badagry Deep Seaport recently signed an agreement with a Middle-Eastern party, with construction scheduled to commence early next year.
The NPA managing director noted that these endeavours exemplify the NPA’s determination to create a multimodal transportation system connecting all ports seamlessly.
On the inefficiencies associated with road-dependence in cargo evacuation, he said the NPA was actively working on alternative initiatives like barges and expanding rail infrastructure.
He informed that the rail line had reached Apapa port and would soon extend to TinCan port.
- He said, “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 Organisation (IMO) 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 at reducing overlaps and eliminating duplication of duties.’’
25-year development plan for ports, terminals, jetties
The NPA boss noted that the deployment of the “Deep Blue Sea” project, equipped with air and sea assets, would enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea and contribute significantly in reducing the incidence of piracy within Nigerian waters.
He said that the NPA was collaborating closely with the Nigerian Customs to reduce bottlenecks and cut the cost of doing business within the ports.
- Bello-Koko said, “There will be development of a 25-year port master plan that will guide the location, sizes, and activities of ports, terminals, and jetties in Nigeria.
- “The master plan will serve as a national working document, uniting all stakeholders towards marine and logistics development.”