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NPA Begins Settlement For $12.5m Port Dredging Contract

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), yesterday said the Federal Government has initiated out-of-court settlement  with Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited over the $12.5million Calabar Port dredging contract.
Speaking to newsmen after a tour of the Calabar Port, after paying a courtesy visit on the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said litigation between the agency and the dredging company has stalled the dredging of the Calabar channel.
He, however, disclosed that NPA and the Federal Ministries of Transportation and Justice have resumed discussions on how to settle the issue out of court so that dredging can continue and vessels with deeper draught can berth at the port.
“The channel management was awarded many years ago but there is litigation between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the contractor that was awarded the contract and this has inhibited our ability to dredge the channel. But, what we have done in recent time is to start looking for out of court settlement.
“The port authority is working with fedteral Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Justice. They have resumed discussions in terms of how to settle this out of court. That has to be done inorder for us to either return the same contractor to continue dredging, or appoint another company to do the dredging of the channel.
“That has been what has delayed or stopped the dredging of that channel. We have taken it very serious, it is one of the reasons we are here today and to also meet with terminal operators and discuss with them, reassure them that government is taking all necessary action to ensure that the issue is taken care of as soon as possible,” he said.
The NPA boss also disclosed that draft limitations has been hindering the calling of vessels at the Calabar Port but disclosed that discussion is ongoing with importers for more vessels to berth at the port using flat bottom vessels.
He stated that the port has close proximity to the North Eastern and Central part of the country, hence the need for it to be viable for importers in the North to import and export their consignment.
“In bringing traffic to Calabar, we are not oblivious of the draft limitations along the channels, but we believe that there are still business that can still come here, import can come to Calabar rather than taken to Lagos.
“Don’t forget that Calabar is strategically located as the nearest port to the North Eastern and some part of the Central states in the country.
“There have been regular interactions with importers which took place in Calabar some months ago and also Port Harcourt and we are here to have the same discussion.
“We have been discussing with shipping companies and the consignees themselves. We would locate major importers into the country and encourage them to use Calabar. And also, exporters to ensure export products are taken out through the seaports”, he said.
Bello-Koko continued continued that “about two days ago a vessel came in with a lot of trucks and equipment. It did not just come from nowhere, it came because of the efforts being made by the Port Manager and Executive Management of the NPA.

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Maritime

MWUN Demands Fixing Failed Tin-Can, Onne Ports’ Quay-Aprons

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has again raised concerns over the decay in ports Infrastructure across the littoral states of the nation, saying the dilapidated quay apron Tin Can Island Port Complex and Port Harcourt Port pose serious danger to dockworkers.
President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos during the recent Dockworkers Day Celebration.
Adeyanju, who is also the Deputy President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), lamented that the two major seàports in Lagos are old, hence government and the concessionaires have failed to maintain or upgrade the infrastructure for optimal utilisation.
Apparently unhappy with the situation in furtherance to the protection of dockers, the President General stated that “Today’s event is expected to X-ray the challenges faced by the Dockworkers in their daily struggle and efforts toward Port efficiency and in the light of ever-improving technological driven economy.
“MWUN Warns NPA To Stop Vessels From Berthing At Five Star Logistics Terminal.
“Training and career is fundamental and provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to protect them against various hazardous working conditions.
“It is instructive to note that the environment we operate has posed dangers to our lives. For instance, the quay aprons at Apapa port complex are dilapidated and Tin Can Island Port Complex has collapsed due to long use, while Port Harcourt port is aged and decrepit”.

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MOWCA Seeks Collaboration With Incoming IMO Scribe

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Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, has met with the newly elected Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Arsenio A. Dominguez Velasco, in London to continually foster cooperation between both bodies.
Their meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the recently held 33rd General Assembly of the IMO, explored already agreed areas of collaboration between both organisation with a view to continuing them when Velasco resumes in January 2024.
While congratulating Dominguez on his new appointment and reassuring him of MOWCA’s support in promoting environmentally safe and sustainable shipping in West and Central Africa , Adalikwu recalled that he achieved the signing of a Joint Action Plan (JAP) agreed by both bodies in 2022 under the outgoing Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim.
Adalikwu gave Dominguez a brief on MOWCA, its scope of operations and achievements made under his watch in the past two years, while the incoming IMO SG promised to consolidate and sustain the relationship between both organisations.
The  IMO and MOWCA had agreed on a Joint Action Plan (JAP) to promote maritime security, safe, efficient and environment friendly shipping.
The JAP was agreed upon at IMO headquarters in London with outgoing IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, MOWCA Secretary General, Dr Paul Adalikwu, and transportation ministers from West and Central African countries in attendance.
Both bodies agreed that the JAP be operational from 2022 to 2032 in the first phase and implemented to align towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Maritime Transport Charter, African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050, and African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development.
Adalikwu described the JAP as a bold step towards ensuring improved safety of ships, crew members and cargoes on African waters, especially in the West and Central African regions.
He added that the move would engender more technical cooperation between IMO and MOWCA for strategic human capital development that will leverage on technology.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

 

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NCS Enforces FG’s 22% Increase On Import Duty

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The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has begun enforcement on the 22.24 percent increase on import duty, by the Federal Government.
Federal Government had increased import duties by as much as 22.24 percent, a development that may worsen the inflationary trend that is already prevailing in the country.
The increase, which is the third this year from records, is expected to drive the cost of clearing a 40-foot container from N7.3 million to N8.9 million, and is warranted by the depreciation of the Naira, as the naira value of the imports rose astronomically, affecting the import duty component.
NCS in a release on Friday, explained that the Comptroller-General of Customs,  Adewale Adeniyi, and the entire personnel were not aware of the development until it was communicated by the Ministry of Finance.
The statement further added that the NCS only carry out the   directive of the Federal Government.
It, however, noted that the Service is not oblivious of what await importers, adding that the agency will maximise its service delivery and work on clearing cargoes as soon as paper works are completed.
”The NCS recognises the import of this exchange rate, particularly when it is done without prior notice on trade.
“We have addressed freight forwarders; we recognise what the Nigerian business community is going through but there is little we can do about fiscal and monetary policies. Our role is to implement them.
“But we align ourselves with government policies because every decision taken is for the collective interest of the nation and I expect that we all abide by it.
“What we said we should do as Customs, which we have told the freight forwarders and clearing agents, is that to mitigate the impact of what they are going to go through in the next few days, we will maximize our service delivery by ensuring that importers do not incur demurrage and associated costs”, the statement noted.
Although the Association of  Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), in reacting to this development through its Vice President, Segun Oduntan, said there was nothing anybody can do about it, he appealed to the government to assist Nigerians in transportation by pegging the duty rate on buses and transport vehicles at zero duty.
He also noted that the development will result in higher inflation on goods and services in the country.

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