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Port Community System: Integrated automation will be backbone of efficiency at our ports – MD NPA

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has mapped out plan to duly integrate the pockets of automation in the port system, in order to establish a Port Community System for greater efficiency.

Managing Director of the NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this at an interactive session with the maritime media in Lagos, weekend.

He said that achieving the plan would be an enabler to improve revenue and get other indices for efficient port system right.

His words: “I will love to see the ports fully automated. Automation will be the backbone of efficiency of our ports, because it will improve revenue and achieve a lot of things we want to achieve. I am interested in getting this done and done righty.

“We have so many automations done, but they are all in silos. So, we need to integrate them. We need to put something that everyone, including the shipping lines, will key into.

“Whatever we do, it shouldn’t just be about us. So, we need to copy something that is in use in other ports in other parts of the world, something that would add value, something that you would really say “this is it” and that is the Port Community System, and the harbours automation.

Bello-Koko also spoke on immediate actions for rehabilitation of dilapidated port infrastructure and the procurement of required marine equipment.

“I am looking forward to a legacy of rehabilitated port infrastructure with the right marine equipment. And that is what indeed we have started working on already. The discussions have started in terms of design; we already have the full design of Tin-Can Island Port, and a design is being done to see how it can be reconstructed,” the NPA MD said.

He added that: “We are pushing BUA to start reconstruction. He has sent his final drawings in Rivers’ Port also, some of these berths that have collapsed. So, if you are able to do this, then you have achieved quite a lot.”

He also dislosed that an interested investor would be using the Port for export of minerals, but delay in take-off had been due to a buried pipe making it difficult to dredge and deepen the channel.

“It is when we finish this mapping and surveying on the channel, because they don’t need a channel that they are unaware of what is there. They need a channel that is deeper. So, the issue here is “What is first? Is it the egg or the chicken?”

“The channel has an NNPC pipe that is buried to about 7.5 metres. So, you cannot dredge deeper than that. Discussions have started with NNPC to see how that pipe can be buried deeper. That means if we decide to dredge it deeper, you can go to 14m. If they take it to 14 metres, it means you can dredge deeper.”

Bello-Koko said that while efforts are on for rehabilitation of facilities, especially in Koko Port, the NPA had engagements with the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase lll, to ensure peace in the communities where the works would be done.

His words: “We are assessing the facilities in Koko and Burutu and we are going to rehabilitate especially Koko. We need to ensure that there is electricity there. The quays are collapsing. It is one of the things we are going to be doing in 2022.

“When I went to Delta, we visited the Ogiame…the Olu of Warri. We pleaded with him to help us talk to the community for them to understand that their actions and inactions would determine the kinds of businesses that would come in to those locations.”

He said that the Olu of Warri gave his commitment to ensure cooperation from his Kingdom, as well as reaching out to other traditional rulers, in order to support works that the NPA needs to do, to get the ports revived economically again.

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