Deadline for NPA's $1.1 billion port reconstruction plan is 2024.

Deadline for NPA's $1.1 billion port reconstruction plan is 2024.
In order to strengthen Nigeria's trade competitiveness, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) announces that it will start a $1.1 billion port rehabilitation plan in the first quarter of 2024.

This was stated during a panel discussion at the 43rd Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) conference, which took place on Tuesday in Lagos, by Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of NPA.

Nearly all of Nigeria's ports need to be renovated, according to Bello-Koko, and the NPA is starting a comprehensive makeover of all of the ports, beginning with TinCan and Apapa in Lagos.

The authority's goal is to improve these ports' physical infrastructure so that it can handle ships of all sizes and raise the draft at the quay side.

"The goal of raising the draft is to reach draft depths of up to 14 meters, and this initiative will make Nigerian ports more competitive globally," the speaker stated.

Bello-Koko went on to say that in order to create new seaports, the NPA was stepping up its partnerships with the private sector.

Notably, he noted, the Badagry Deep Seaport just inked a deal with a Middle Eastern party, and work is expected to start early in 2019. The Lekki Deep Seaport has already started operations.

These initiatives, according to the managing director of the NPA, demonstrate the organization's commitment to building a multimodal transportation network that smoothly connects all ports.

He noted that the NPA was actively working on alternative projects like barges and expanding rail infrastructure in order to address the inefficiencies connected with cargo evacuation that are caused by reliance on roads.

He told me the train line was now in Apapa port and would shortly reach TinCan port.

"The project will begin next year with the completion of the survey for the deployment of cargo rail and tracks to Onne port," he stated.

Bello-Koko stated that NPA was adopting automation in its operations to simplify processes and cut expenses.

In order to streamline the cargo clearance procedures, the authority has automated its collecting system and is working with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to implement a cutting-edge port community system.

"Using the recently developed port process manual, the authority is working to clarify the responsibilities of government agencies within the ports with the aim of reducing overlaps and eliminating duplication of duties," he stated.

The head of the NPA stated that the "Deep Blue Sea" project, which is outfitted with both air and sea capabilities, will be deployed to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea and considerably lower the frequency of piracy in Nigerian waters.

In order to lessen traffic jams and save operating expenses in the ports, he stated that the NPA and Nigerian Customs were working closely together.

A 25-year port master plan will be created to direct the growth of ports, terminals, and jetties in Nigeria in terms of location, size, and operations.

"All stakeholders will be united towards the development of marine and logistics through the use of the master plan as a national working document." stated Bello-Koko.

In a separate speech, Mr. Martin Boguikouma, President of PMAWCA, urged African nations to confront their problems in order to accommodate the increased volume of trade that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will bring about.

In addition to providing a list of solutions, Boguikouma mentioned that collaborating with port authorities to standardize customs procedures was one of the solutions.

All seaports and customs officers need to have their capacities increased, and they need to be made more aware of how to deal with cross-border trade.

He stated, "There is a need to work on improving interstate cooperation, lowering transportation costs, and investing in efficient transportation infrastructure."

He pointed out that measures had been taken in Gabon to guarantee the success of free trade.

The president of PMAWCA stated that successful free trade might be facilitated by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on trade facilitation, which harmonised customs duty—a crucial component of the AfCFTA.

"A National Commission for Trade Facilitation has been established, and it consists of three modules: a regulatory framework, an adoption of a trade facilitation roadmap, and the operationalization of trade standards," the speaker stated.

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