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FG sets to renovate the country’s ports

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By Mercy Kelani

Introduction of new boats will enhance the productivity of ports in Nigeria.

Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, the Minister in charge of Marine Affairs and Blue Economy, announced that the refurbishment of the country’s ports is set to begin in the near future. He disclosed that the funds required for restoration are on the verge of being available, totalling $800 million. On February 22, 2024, Oyetola addressed the audience during the launch of seven patrol boats commissioned by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). He believes that the introduction of new boats will enhance the productivity of ports in Nigeria.

He praised the NPA management for taking the necessary steps to enhance safety within the maritime sector. Mr. President intentionally established the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, recognizing the existing potential for economic growth in this sector. While the blue economy has always been present, it lacked the organization needed to fully capitalize on Nigeria’s maritime resources and generate the appropriate revenue. One of the main goals is to guarantee the safety of maritime activities.

Upgrading the ports to enhance their global competitiveness.

Additionally, they plan to discuss the implementation of automation in ports to enhance their productivity. Recently, the minister was provided with a report by the consultant responsible for the Port Community System. This report aims to improve the efficiency of the ports. Once more, the ministry’s focus is on upgrading the ports to enhance their global competitiveness. The aim is to cut down the vessel turnaround time from its current range of six to 10 days to just four days, aligning the nation with top ports worldwide.

Also, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director/CEO of NPA, emphasized the organization’s commitment to turning the maritime logistics hub into a sustainable port service in Africa. This marks a significant transition from mere potential to tangible realities. One of the key tasks of the Nigerian Port Authority is to uphold maritime safety, security, and compliance with international standards as part of the Presidential Priorities set by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The events occurring currently are in line with meeting the goals and following the president’s guidance on how government agencies should operate.

Providing a safe haven for ships, and protecting the Authority’s assets.

By ensuring security measures are in place, they are able to meet the essential need for safety. This is crucial for carrying out their responsibilities in overseeing maritime operations, ensuring port security, providing a safe haven for ships, and protecting the Authority’s assets while maximizing their efficiency. By utilizing these advanced security patrol boats, they are further enhancing their adherence to the regulations set forth by the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code.

They expressed their deep gratitude to their esteemed security allies, such as the Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army, DSS, and Lagos State Government. Their ongoing partnerships have greatly improved their capacity to detect, prevent, and address security risks and issues promptly. Before the seven security patrol boats were commissioned, a team of experts from their Security and Marine Operations Divisions along with the Vessel Management Department carefully evaluated the needs and requirements through a rigorous assessment process. The incredible capabilities and diverse functions of these naval vessels have a significant impact on their ability to effectively respond to new threats and enhance their security readiness.

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Furthermore, he has opted not to elaborate on these exceptional attributes due to the sensitive nature of the topic. Additionally, Bello-Koko expressed his joy in announcing that the security patrol boats will help attract more vessel traffic to the Eastern Ports of Onne, Warri, Rivers, and Calabar Port Complexes. These specific ports have been designated to receive four of the vessels being commissioned, aligning with their goal of increasing maritime activity in these regions. Onne Port has been experiencing a rise in vessel traffic, but they must not become complacent. The focus remains on advocating and rallying support from stakeholders to further develop the Eastern Ports and enhance their success.

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