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Dakuku advocates dedicated cargo ports

DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside 

As Africa continues to consider
strategies for improving the efficiency of shipping in the continent, the
Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
(NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has suggested the introduction of designated
ports to handle particular cargoes.

Dakuku made the call at the four-day
Oil Trading and Logistics Expo (OTL 2019) held at Oriental Hotel, Victoria
Island, Lagos.

The forum, a veritable platform for
the recognition of key stakeholders who have played significant roles in the
advancement of the maritime sector, saw NIMASA picking an award for its
contributions to the growth of shipping, which has helped the development of
the downstream sector. 

The annual OTL Africa Downstream
Week, which is widely acknowledged as Africa’s biggest platform for downstream
oil and gas businesses, brought together experts and stakeholders in the oil
and gas as well as maritime sectors from across the continent and beyond to
discuss the way forward for the shipping industry. 

The theme for this year, the
13th edition of the conference, was “Achieving Downstream Competitiveness
through Growth, Innovation, and Technology.”

In his address at the conference,
which ended on Wednesday, Dakuku identified measures that could help to improve
efficiency and service delivery in the maritime sector. 

Represented by NIMASA’s
Assistant Director, Surveillance, Captain David Oboma, the Director-General
stated, “In line with global best practices, there are several measures that we
should give serious consideration if we are to improve upon the efficiency of
our industry. Firstly, we must reduce vessel turnaround times at our ports and
terminals to minimise logjams, which have a knock-on negative effect on the
entire system chain.

“The introduction of dedicated ports
to handle specific cargoes, as obtains in world leading ports, would also
greatly improve on our service delivery and efficiency.”

Dakuku, who spoke during a session
with the theme, Ship to Shore and Efficiency of Shipping Petroleum and Crude
Oil Cargo, also said, “Improving upon the draft capacity by dredging our
existing ports to widen the scope of vessels which can berth would help to
eradicate the need for Ship-to-Ship transfers at sea.

“However, in striving for efficiency,
we must not forget safety as a key consideration in shore to ship operations.”

Those in attendance at the session
chaired by renowned maritime law expert, Mr. Emeka Akabogu, included the Chief
of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, who was represented by Director of
Operations, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Ibikunle Olaiya; 

Also in attendance were the President, Ship
owners’ Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. McGeorge Onyung; President of
Nigeria Ship-Owners Association (NISA) and CEO, Sea Transport Services Nigeria
Limited, Mr. Aminu Umar; and Group General Manager, Shipping, Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mrs. Aisha Ahmadu Katagum.

Speaking at the session, Umar
bemoaned the amount of bureaucracy that continued to hamper the ease of doing
business in Nigeria’s territorial waters. 

He identified insecurity as a
persistent menace to the maritime sector as it meant high cost of doing
business in Nigeria.

On his part, Onyung lamented the
absence of Nigerian-owned vessels conducting business within Nigerian waters.
He said there was an urgent need to empower Nigerians to own vessels.

Industry experts used the opportunity
to push for fully owned Nigerian vessels to be given the chance to lift crude
oil, saying it would be a big boost to indigenous shipping and job creation.

Earlier at the event’s Awards Dinner,
NIMASA was given an award of honour in recognition of its contribution towards
the growth of the downstream sector.

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