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Lagos Shippers to vacate Shipper’s Council headquarters

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…Says NSC failed to protect shippers

The Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) is set to vacate its second-floor accommodation at the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) corporate headquarters over what the association labelled as ill-treatment and lack of enough protection for cargo owners.

Addressing a media briefing on Tuesday in Lagos, the Spokesman for SALS, Dr Kayode Farinto stated that maybe if Shippers in Lagos are no longer housed under the NSC accommodation arrangement, their voices will be listened to.

According to Dr Kayode Farinto, “In the NSC Act, the role of a Shipper is very clear. A Shipper is a person that brings a cargo into a port area for the cargo owner, that is the importer.

“Section 3, sub-section C of the NSC Act under number 13 states that the Nigerian Shippers Council should encourage the formulation of shippers association all over the country. What this means is that it is not only Lagos State that should have a Shippers Association. Every State of the federation should have a Shippers association.

“Although we have a national shippers association that has been formed, they have not been vibrant. Maybe they will be vibrant this year, we just pray so.

“We have looked at the role of the Shippers in the nation maritime industry, and have realized that we have not been carried along by the NSC in their activities.

“You people know that the Shippers Council currently accommodates Shippers in Lagos. We were given an accommodation on the second floor of the NSC headquarters. You people need to visit that place to see the kind of accommodation that the NSC has given us.

“Due to this poor arrangement and lack of adequate projection, we have come to a conclusion that for us to be widely heard and listened to, the Shippers Association of Lagos State might move out of the NSC headquarters this year.

Whether anybody likes it or not, the man that receives the highest blow in the import value chain is the shipper. When there are barriers in trade, the man that suffers most is the shipper.

“It is unfortunate that the Federal Government is paying lip service to trade facilitation. Last year, Nigeria nearly entered back into recession because we don’t produce anything. As an import-dependent economy, we need to have trade facilitation at our ports.

“As COVID-19 rates worsen, restrictions might come harder. The man that brings in the cargoes must be protected.

“This year, the NSC must carry everybody along. It is important that the chicken that lays the golden eggs are protected. The Shippers must be protected, empowered and encouraged.

“The style of administration of the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Emmanuel Jime is different from that of his predecessor, Hassan Bello. Yes, he likes doing things quietly, but we the Shippers are yet to see the results of what he has been doing since he came on board seven months ago.

“If Hadiza Bala Usman can come to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and start achieving in 90 days, why can the NSC Executive Secretary? He is not a greenhorn in the maritime industry.

“Maybe it’s too early to start rating the man, but Shippers have been treated with disdain since he came on board. Shippers have not been given the right recognition and cooperation that is expected from an economic regulator.

“We have made a lot of complaints, but it looks as if maybe because we are a tenant at the NSC, nobody listens to us. So, maybe if we get an independent accommodation where nobody pays our rent except ourselves, maybe people in authority will listen to us more.”

On the Cargo Defence Fund, the SALS said it will collaborate with Government agencies to ensure it doesn’t become moribund like the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

“Cargo Defence Fund is for the Shippers. It is there to help shippers cushion the effect of the harsh realities of the economy in the face of COVID-19 and other issues. This year, we will look into it to ensure it doesn’t become moribund like the CVFF,” the SALS Spokesman added.

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Maritime

NIWA raises alarm over rising water levels across rivers

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has issued an alert on the rising water levels across rivers and lagoons in the country which poses a danger to unregulated water transportation.

In the warning notice issued by the management, the authority said its gauge readers had confirmed the new development.

Consequently, NIWA has advised people living along the river banks across the country to relocate to higher grounds to avoid loss of lives and properties.

In addition, the authority has advised boat operators and passengers to ensure strict compliance with the laid-down safety procedures as it has vowed to ensure strict compliance.

“The National Inland Waterways Authority(NIWA) wishes to inform the General Public that our gauge readers have confirmed the country’s fast-rising water levels across rivers and lagoons.

Consequently, the authority calls on all persons living at the riverbanks across Nigeria to start preparing to relocate to higher grounds to avoid the loss of lives and properties in the advent of a flood.

“Specifically, the boat operators and passengers are advised to take note of the rising tides and ensure strict adherence to safety regulations on the inland waterways, including compulsory use of life jackets always.

“The Inland Waterways transportation regulations 2023 has been gazetted and compliance shall be enforced,” the notice concluded.

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NPA acquires new tugboats to enhance operations at Lekki Port

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has acquired two newly 80 tons bollard pull tugboats deployed to enhance the berthing of vessels at the Dangote Refinery and Lekki Deep Seaport.

State-Of-The-Art Marine Crafts christened MT IRAGBIJI and MT BAMA were commissioned by Adegboyega Oyetola, Minister of Marine and Blue Economy on Thursday in Lagos.

The vessels are expected to support port security, patrol, and surveillance and to deliver efficient pilotage and towage services that would help the growing cargo evacuation needs of the Lekki maritime corridor.

Speaking at the commissioning, Oyetola, said the investment into acquiring the marine craft is a step towards enhancing port efficiency and strengthening Nigeria’s position as a leading maritime nation in the region.

According to him, the present administration is committed to investing in developing the nation’s maritime assets.

“We recognise the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth and will do all that is required to update the existing facilities to deliver on this. By acquiring these modern marine crafts, we are reaffirming our commitment to maximise the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. We are determined to optimise our competitive edge as a littoral nation and deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of cutting-edge technology and equipment,” Oyetola said.

Earlier, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, said the acquisition would enable the Ports Authority to attain a regional hub status by efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs, winning back transit cargo hitherto lost to maritime neighbours and positioning to cater to the maritime requirements of landlocked neighbours.

He said the NPA has deployed a three-pronged strategy driven by people; technology, infrastructure, and equipment such as the state-of-the-art vessels were commissioned.

According to him, the acquisition of the marine craft is part of the fulfilment of NPA’s deliverables under the Presidential/Ministerial Performance Bond to optimise Nigeria’s marine and blue economy by providing relevant marine technology and equipment.

Pointing out that the marine crafts would be deployed to serve operations at the Lekki corridor, Bello-Koko said the corridor has become a hub for actualising Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in energy, agricultural growth and trade transshipment capacity with the hosting of a 650,000 barrels-per-day Dangote Refinery, Africa’s largest granulated urea fertiliser complex and Nigeria’s first fully automated Deep Seaport, which can berth Super Post Panamax size ships.

“Data from Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals shows that 120 tanker vessels have been handled in the six months from January – June 2024 with a projection for 415 between July to December, while Dangote Fertilisers have handled 17 fertiliser vessels with a projection for 41 in the corresponding period,

“We are by these commissioning and ancillary deployments putting mechanisms in place to cater for continuous increase going forward,” the NPA boss assured.

Bello-Koko commended the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy for the continuous support that enabled the Ports Authority to enhance its operational efficiencies.

Also speaking, comptroller general of the Nigeria Customs Service,  Adewale Adeniyi,  said Customs has found it comfortable to work with the NPA to develop the export sector, automate Customs processes, decongest the port, and ensure port efficiency.

According to him, the collaboration between Customs and NPA has started yielding good fruits as the NPA and the Customs were recently ranked high by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in line with the vision of the present administration to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector.

He assured that Customs would do all within its capacity to remain on top of ease of doing business ranking for the growth of the maritime industry.

Director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dayo Mobereola, lauded the NPA and Minister of the Marine and Blue Economy for the leading role played in driving efficient service delivery in the nation’s port industry.

He said trade facilitation comes with efficiency and only efficient service delivery would enable Nigeria to regain cargo lost to neighbouring West African ports.

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NSC, NJI hold 17th International Maritime Seminar for judges

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The Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the National Judicial Institute are set to jointly host the 17th International Maritime Seminar for Judges.

Mrs Rebecca Adamu, Assistant Director of Public Relations at the council, said this in a statement on Saturday in Lagos.

According to the statement, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, will chair the seminar.

She also said that Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State would be the Special Guest of Honour.

Adamu noted that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council operates under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

She stated that the three-day seminar would take place in Abuja from Tuesday, July 9 to July 11.

“The objective of the seminar is to update the knowledge of participants on contemporary issues, particularly in International Maritime Law and Admiralty Practice as they impact Nigeria and the West African Sub-region.

“The participants include justices, judges, in-house counsel, legal practitioners and captains of the maritime industry,” Adamu said.

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