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NPA targets 2024 to automate port processes

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has targeted year 2024 to fully automate ports processes in Nigeria.

The Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko disclosed this during an interaction session with journalists in Lagos on Saturday.

Bello Koko noted that a port community system would be deployed where all the major stakeholders ranging from NPA, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and shipping companies among others would log in to the system for the purpose of sharing data. 

He, however, noted that the system would not in any way hinder the operations of e-Customs when deployed. 

“We have realised that modern ports are all moving towards automation and automation cannot be launched haphazardly; not partial, it has to be full automation.

“Whenever we experience manual interference, it shows we have not be fully automated. Having discovered that, we wrote to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to help us consult.

“We are about to deploy the port community system. Port community system is an avenue that ensures all stakeholders from NPA itself, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and shipping companies, Nigeria Customs Service – everybody logs in for the purpose of exchanging data. 

“It doesn’t keep away the e-Customs system or what a view. That’s why we are able to get stakeholders to buy into it. We are ensuring that we are deploying harbor automation. 

“The IMO has mandated all ports to actually deploy such IT and software by 2025. Our target is actually 2023 maximum early 2024,” Koko said. 

The NPA boss also said that the quay apron at Tin Can Island Port, Lagos is collapsing. He added that the agency had started discussing with some lending agencies to address the decay. 

“Tin Can Island Port is practically collapsing. We need to focus our budget towards the rehabilitation of those quay walls at the Tin-Can port. We have taken a holistic review of decaying infrastructures at our ports and have decided that it is very important that we rehabilitate Tin Can and Apapa ports.

“What we have done is to start talking to lending agencies, even though we don’t intend to lend. We are asking how much money they will invest in the port terminals,” he said. 

Speaking on the controversies and allegations of extortion surrounding implementation of the electronic call-up system (named eto) for trucks operating at the Lagos ports, he said NPA has signed an agreement with the Lagos State Government to deploy mobile court at the eto call-up location around the port to prosecute persons arrested for sabotaging the system. 

“I know that people will have questions about eto call-up. Even with the deployment of eto, we are still having some unpleasant situations but we can all agree that the worse of eto is better than the best of the time before eto. 

“The problem is enforcement and about a month ago we signed an agreement with the Lagos State Government and Lagos State Government has deployed a mobile court to that location. We called the two AIGs; the AIG Marines and the main AIG and on a certain weekend we went on patrol. I was really impressed about what the AIG did. He practically told some DPOs to go to their offices and pack their belongings and get their deployment letters. 

“Some checkpoints are not supposed to be there and what we decided to do was to count the number of checkpoints and identify the location where there should be checkpoints. We are coming up with a signage to identify the particular positions where we have the checkpoints. So, if we have any checkpoints outside those locations, definitely they are illegal. 

“Also, what are the checkpoints for? It Is not every checkpoint that should be checking eto tickets. There are checkpoints that are there for the purpose of national security and policing policy. 

“What we are saying is that, stop stopping trucks unnecessarily. On the part of the motorable road, we have contacted HITECH to look for a way to complete that Coconut en route mile road,” Koko added. 

Ref: https://shipsandports.com.ng/npa-targets-2024-to-automate-port-processes/

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