By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said it was working with stakeholders in the maritime sector on how to begin 24-hour operations at ports in the country.
This was one of the discussions at the second edition of the monthly meeting of heads of maritime parastatals held at the NIMASA headquarters on Tuesday.
The key stakeholders present at the gathering included the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the Nigerian Shipping Council (NSC) amongst others.
According to a statement signed by NIMASA’s spokesperson, Mr Philip Kyanet, issues bordering on maritime safety and security, port efficiency, intermodal transportation, as well as synergy among agencies in the sector were also discussed.
Led by the Director-General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, the forum of executives of the agencies had given the maritime industry a platform to grow and contribute more to Nigeria’s economic development.
Quoting Mr Jamoh, it was noted the heads of agencies agreed to play their respective roles to facilitate the operation of 24 hours a day, seven days a week port services.
This, he said, would help to decongest the ports and tremendously impact on the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the federal government.
The meeting constituted a committee to produce a work plan for the 24-hour port system and agreed to carry communities around the port environments along in order to ensure safe operations within the port vicinities and beyond.
“We are looking at the workability of 24-hour port services to ease the pressure on our ports in terms of congestion. We also agreed to work with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on how the movement of cargoes from the ports can be done by rail to reduce the pressure on our roads.
“Our focus is also to ensure containers are moved by barges to dry ports outside the port environments. All these would help in the efficiency and effectiveness of our ports,” he said.
Also present at the meeting, the Managing Director of NPA, Mrs Hadiza Usman, emphasized the need for an intermodal transport system in and around the port environments to reap the benefits of shipping and port activities.
She substantiated the necessary need of maritime agencies agreed to work with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to facilitate the movement of cargo from the ports by rail.
Also, the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr George Moghalu, said safety formed a major part of the discussion.
He said all the maritime agencies had agreed to work together to rid the Nigerian waters of unsafe craft and practices that endanger passengers and other users of the waterways.
Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said the new synergy among the heads of maritime agencies was a significant building block for efficient economic activities within the country’s maritime domain.
He said the ultimate aim was to make Nigeria a maritime hub in Africa through efficient and effective maritime operations and infrastructure.
The monthly meeting, which was the second in the series, was also attended by the Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mr Sam Nwakohu; and Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Oron, Duja Effedua, who joined via Zoom.
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