Over 100 maritime leaders are uniting in Accra to showcase upcoming mega-projects and call for partners in development at African Ports Evolution - West Africa.CAPE TOWN, WESTERN PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA, July 6, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -- With West Africa now receiving significant attention from global investors, over 100 of the region's maritime leaders are uniting in September to showcase upcoming mega-projects and call for partners in development.
Dramatic expansion plans at the region’s ports not only promise to improve port capacity but also hinterland connectivity to exponentially grow West Africa’s blue economy. Against this backdrop, the African Ports Evolution - West Africa Forum takes place in Accra, Ghana from 5-7 September 2017. The forum will unite leading port users and customers from bulk exporters to international investors and tourism boards to discuss multi-modal requirements and infrastructure solutions to propel the blue economy into a leading contributor to GDP.
Paul Asare Ansah, Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority will discuss the $1.5 billion project for the expansion of the Port of Tema and Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, will discuss procurement for various projects under NPA's proposed 2017 Capital and Recurrent Budget that includes maintenance, rehabilitation and construction projects.
The International Sea Trade and Investment Convention (ISTI) Committee on Wednesday said that all was set for Nigeria to host its first International Sea Trade and Investment Convention. In a statement in Lagos Mr Adebayo Sarumi, the Chairman of the convention committee said that the aim was to position Nigeria as a maritime hub. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, which is scheduled to hold in Lagos on Oct. 5 and 6., is designed as a platform to address issues of new and direct trade route between Nigeria and her leading trading partners. The Convention with the theme “Exploring New Trade Frontiers” will explore cross border potentials along regional trade corridor.
The Federal Government’s policies on importation of rice and motor vehicles, as well as the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy on foreign exchange, are taking a toll on the operating capacity of the country’s seaport terminals, with many now operating at between 30 percent and 40 percent below capacity.
Industry watchers say that most terminals at the port now operate below capacity due to the reduction in the number of ships that call the port, which results in a decline in the volume of imported cargo at the port.
Formerly, an average of 100 vessels berthed at the port monthly, with various cargoes in the Lagos pilotage district.
This number has however decreased in the past three months, to an average of 40 vessels per month. The implication is that terminals which have the capacity to handle three to four vessels simultaneously now handle one or two vessels in a week.
BusinessDay invetigations reveal that the most affected are the break bulk and roll-in, roll-out (RoRo) terminals. These are specialised terminals built with equipment to handle bulk cargoes such as wheat, rice, salt and sugar, while RoRo terminals are equipped to handle imported new and used vehicles which come in RoRo vessels.
Badagry Ship Repair and Maritime Engineering Company (BSMEC), a consortium of five Nigerian firms, has named Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries as technical partners to the development of the ship repair project at Badagry, Lagos.
The consortium, which restated its commitment to the project, said Samsung and Hyundai would be investing in the facility as promoters as well as adding their technical expertise. The facility will undertake the repairs and maintenance of large vessels and offshore units, while the catchment area of the facility will include the West African market.
Speaking after its fourth strategic partners meeting in Lagos, Taiwo Afolabi, chairman of BSMEC, said the project, if completed would be a game changer.
“The vision of this facility is to establish a world-class ship repair and maintenance centre in Nigeria, which will take care of the huge number of vessels that currently operate in Nigeria. It will create jobs, develop both the maritime and oil industries, and act as foreign exchange earner, among other benefits.
“The consortium is working with various globally-tested technical partners and shipyard operators. Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries are part of the project, while we have also opened discussions with Damen Shipyard in Holland. All the partners are committed to see this project come to a completion,” he said.
The federal government under the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMOT) has constituted a committee to carry out verification of all projects currently being executed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
In statement signed by Lami Tumaka, head, Public Relations of NIMASA, the committee, which has members drawn from the Federal Ministry of Transport, Federal Ministry of Works and the general service unit of NIMASA, is expected to carry out an evaluation of all project, currently being executed by NIMASA with a view to ascertaining the percentage of their completion in relation to funds already released for the projects.
Speaking at the constitution of the committee, Haruna Baba Jauro, the acting director general of NIMASA, said the evaluation has become necessary given the limited resources available to the agency which requires the prioritisation of projects execution in order to avoid abandonment.
“We need to set our priorities right as far as project execution is concerned by strategically executing projects even in a phased manner so as to avoid a situation where projects that should have been very beneficial to the development of the maritime industry are abandoned due to poor planning”, the DG said.
As part of efforts aimed at providing adequate security in the maritime sector, the Nigerian Navy has, Monday, unveiled its strategic directive to ensure effective monitoring of the nation’s waterways and sustain its effort to maintain credible presence at sea.
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Ete Ibas, in a statement disclosed that the consultations and interactions he had with the Principal Staff Officers, Flag Officers Commanding, Commands of Autonomous Units, and all strata of the Navy, coupled with various briefs formed the foundation upon which the strategic Directive 2015-1 was based.
According to him, “this strategic Directive is set out to guide the attainment of Nigerian Navy(NN) goals in areas considered critical to effectiveness of NN operational, logistics and administrative process and procedures”.
Water transportation has over the years proved to be the least utilized, among the three modes of transportation. This situation has undermined its potency in providing an alternative means of traveling by decongesting the air and road transportation especially in heavily industrialized cities like Lagos. The aftermath of this situation is often more intense with the road transport, resulting in accidents, traffic gridlock to mention a few. This concern formed the center of a media briefing yesterday in Lagos by the Chief Executive Officer of Tarzan Jetty, Mr Ganiyu Balogun. He said that the solution to the traffic gridlock in Lagos Metropolis was the development of the water transportation in Nigeria. He is also the President, National Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON).
Mr. Balogun told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that adequate investment in water transportation would not only help in reducing the burden on the roads but was also capable of boosting water tourism as well as create more job opportunities.According to him, the deplorable conditions of many roads in the country have made it difficult for tourists to visit and navigate through the numerous tourist attractions in the nation. He stressed that Government needs to invest more in water transportation, so that boat operators can open up the waterways for boat services.
The maritime sector is a major part of the travel industry in any nation and constitutes a source of revenue, employment generation amongst other benefits to the home country. However, this can only be achieved when it is strategically positioned with the right policies and programmes in place. This concern was the focus of the “Policy Dialogue Series on Generation of Revenue from Nigerian Shipping Sector” held recently in Lagos. Speaking at the forum, Olisa Agbakoba, a renowned maritime lawyer and also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said that the nation’s shipping sector has the potential to generate N7 trillion annually into the federation account if properly harnessed.He called on the Federal Government to diversify the nation’s economy from being oil dependent and explore other non-oil sectors of the economy in the wake of continuous drop in the price of crude oil at the international market. According to him, shipping is crucial to maximizing oil potential and as such the government needs to overhaul policies, institutional, regulatory and legal framework in the shipping sector to be able to tap into the revenue, which the sector has in stock for both the government and the masses.