CEM REPORT, TRADE | In a bid to improve the competitiveness of Nigeria’s ports on a global scale, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has earmarked $1.1 billion to rehabilitate the nation’s ports in the first quarter of 2024.
The authority went on to say, it will strengthen collaboration with the private sector to establish new seaports, guided by a 25-year port master plan.
Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, disclosed the plan at the ongoing 43rd Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) conference in Lagos.
Bello stated that virtually every port in Nigeria requires rehabilitation, noting that the intended rehabilitation will commence with the TinCan and Apapa ports in Lagos before moving to others.
He noted that the objective of the rehabilitation 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 to achieve draft depths of up to 14 meters and this initiative will render Nigerian ports more competitive on a global scale.’’
Private Sector Partnership
The NPA managing director said there will be a development of a 25-year port master plan that will guide the location, sizes, and activities of ports, terminals, and jetties in Nigeria.
He noted that the master plan will serve as a national working document, uniting all stakeholders towards marine and logistics development.
Koko continued that the NPA was also strengthening collaborations with the private sector to establish new seaports.
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.”
Koko informed that the NPA was actively working on expanding rail infrastructure and barges, to address the inefficiencies associated with road-dependence in cargo evacuation.
He noted that the survey for deploying cargo rail and tracks to Onne port had been completed, setting the stage for the project’s kick-off next year, adding that the rail line had reached Apapa port and would soon extend to TinCan port.
Koko further added that “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 optimize cargo clearance processes.”
On security, he said the deployment of the Deep Blue project, equipped with air and sea assets, was enhancing security in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and had contributed significantly to the reduction of piracy incidents in Nigerian waters.
Koko stated that NPA was collaborating with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to reduce bottlenecks and cut the cost of doing business within the ports.