Afri-Exim, ICRC approve $1.2bn for moribund Burutu port
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

THE African Import Export Bank, Afri-Exim Bank, in collaboration with the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, have approved a $1.2billion loan facility to rehabilitate the moribund Burutu Port in Burutu, Delta State.
Disclosing this at the just concluded Nigerian Port and Trade Investment Forum held in Lagos an official of Afri-Exim Bank, Mr. Hope Nyongo, said that there is an initiative called ‘‘the Joint Project Preparation Facility’’ for anybody that has a port related project he or she wants to develop.
Nyongo explained that there are ways to access funding support from the Bank explaining that some of the windows include ship acquisition, platform developments, dockyard services, terminals and port development adding that anybody can apply once the person has the necessary documentations.
He disclosed that the Business Case for Burutu Port has been prepared by the ICRC and encourage investors with similar projects to take advantage of Joint Project Preparation Facility to develop such facilities.
He stated: “Because of the typical nature of the maritime and the lack of internal capacity, we have a facility called the Joint Project Preparation Facility initiated by Afri-Exim for port related development in Africa. That means that anybody that wants to develop project in any maritime assets that he or she want to develop. Consultants with experience will be brought in to the project develop Bankable feasible feasibility studies that can be funded by the Bank.
“So this is how our partnership works, if you ready, you can come, like we are talking to Burutu Port. ICRC has already approved $1.2Billion for Burutu Port and they have done the Business Plan.
“Now we are in partnership to see how to develop Moribound Burutu Port.
“For the Benin Port we will be willing to support and we are looking at the funding as part of infrastructural support.
“We are arranging a consortium of Multi-lateral financial institutions, local financing institutions and export credit institutions that can provide the resources and partnership together for the funding.”
He also disclosed that the Bank is also working the Nigerian Navy on the Burutu slipway for the Navy to build whatever small crafts they want to build.

Nigeria’s maritime infrastructure, institutions’ data non-competitive, non verifiable – Ex-Shippers Council boss
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

A former Executive Director of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Mrs Dabney Shahollma, has said that data from Nigerian institutions particularly in the maritime sector, are not verifiable.
She also said the ports infrastructure is not competitive against what exist in neighboring West African countries.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigerian Ports, Trade and Investment Forum held in Lagos, Shahollma said she has to consult other sources to get the true data she wanted.
She stated: “There was a time I needed to establish the measurement of some quay aprons that terminal operators have been allotted and I had to physically get engineers and surveyors to take the measurements for me because I got four sets of data from the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and they were all wrong. But at physical measurement, I was able to establish what the measurements were and because unless you do that you cannot ascertain what kind of vessel is supposed to come in otherwise you can run into a serious problem.
‘‘This has also led to issue of freight rates because no shipping company will allow its vessel steam into Nigerian ports without additional cost.
So automatically there is a 35 per cent margin mark up, because when the vessels come there are no fenders, and what does that means, the vessel comes alongside and she is brushed. By the time the vessel finishes operation and steams out, she is looking for the next repair yard to fix her hub, sometimes the stumps, sometimes the bull box, they are broken.
‘‘When we go for trade and freight negotiations this is what the shipping companies say. The extenuating factors for trading into Nigeria is extremely risky. So there is already a mark up.
‘‘You cannot compare your freight with Benin neither can you compare your freight with Togo or Lome in Togo because every facility needed for a deep seaport in Lome is there, including the security because they are on the radar and they have a system that is detecting everything like their drones and their sensors.
‘‘So people are comfortable sailing in and sailing out of their ports. So what a Ghanaian would demand and negotiate when I go for negotiations and Ghanaians are around the table, I keep quiet because the facts are given to you and you can clearly see that a person who is trading into Nigeria is trading at a disadvantage so you must allow him to put up that mark up and the mark up is consistent. The surcharge that these companies slam on Nigeria is cost recovery and there is nothing you can do about that because the infrastructure are not there’’.



Why FEC rejected applications for renewal of port concession agreements
. . . as NPA continues to give 6 months extension


By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

THE immediate past Federal Executive Council, FEC, under President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration turned down the applications for the renewal of concession agreements by four terminal operators for failing to meet the Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, and other benchmarks.
Meanwhile, a source at the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy said that the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Mr. Muazu Sambo, could not get the new concession agreements approved by the FEC because much holes were identified in the presentations for the renewal.
Recall that the former Minister gave a marching order to the leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to conclude the Port concession renewal agreement within a specific period of time before the exit of the regime.
The source also stated that the Minister was, however, directed to take the application on a case-by-case basis for clarity and ease of performance review.
The source added, “We hope the new Minister will take it from where the former Minister stopped and conclude the process of renewing the concession agreements.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Mark Wash, Executive Director of ENL Consortium, one of the terminal operators, told The Portal that they have been getting six months extension from the management of the NPA, a development they are stuck with and not being able to do much with the short extensions.
Wash said that most of the terminal operators have met the requirements for the renewals and waiting for the FEC to approve the applications.
Wash explained that the applicants have gone through the performance audit of the relevant government agencies successfully and their applications sent to FEC.
Wash who spoke to The Portal on the sideline of the celebration of the 74th independence anniversary of the People’s Republic of China held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, also said that continued six months extension period is not good enough as terminal operators cannot do much within the period by way of planning and strategizing.
He disclosed that the applicants are asking for between 10 and 20 years concession period in the next round of renewal of concession agreement.
According to him the Bureau for Public Enterprise, BPE, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, were all involved in auditing the concessionaires before their applications were referred to FEC.
The four applicants that submitted their renewal applications are Port and Cargo, operators of Terminal ‘C’ in Tin-Can Island Port, ENL Consortium Apapa Port Complex, AMS Terminal Warri and Joseph Dam also in Tin-Can Island Port.
He explained further, “Like any other businessman, you will need time to plan and execute these and six months is not long enough time to do that.
“If you are looking at six months, what can you do in six months. When you have ten years, or 20 years, then you know how to organize yourself.
“Some concessionaires are asking for 10 years while others are seeking 20 years; Different investments for different operators’’.
Efforts to speak with the Media Consultant to the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, Dr. Bolaji Akinola, was futile as several calls to his phone line were not answered.
A source close to the STOAN said that the delay in approving the applications for a new concession agreement is making operators lose money and delaying investment in new equipment and infrastructure.
The source explained that there are equipments with life spans that must be replaced after sometime but the non-approval is not allowing that to happen.
The source also said the FEC could not approve the applications because the voluminous document of 800 pages could not be read by Council members because they got the document two days before the FEC meeting.
“Council members also had other numerous documents they needed to attend to and they advised that the applications be submitted on a terminal by terminal basis for ease of perusing.”

China is important engine of growth for world trade – Consular
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

THE Chinese government has said that it remains an important engine of growth to the world trade as it continue to recover and make progress in a steady manner.
Speaking at the 74th Independence anniversary Celebration in Lagos, Chinese Consular General of the Peoples’ Republic of China, Ms. Yan Yuqing, also said that Chinese people have created an economic miracle with hard work and wisdom adding that the total economic volume has grown from 30 billion USD at the beginning of the founding of New China in 1949, to 18 trillion USD today, ranking second in the world.
She explained that China’s average contribution to world economic growth has exceeded 30%.
She stated: “In the past 74 years, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, have successfully opened up the road to socialism with Chinese characteristics, achieved the first centennial goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and are now moving towards the second centennial goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects.
“The Chinese people have created an economic miracle with hard work and wisdom. The total economic volume has grown from 30 billion USD at the beginning of the founding of New China in 1949, to 18 trillion USD today, ranking second in the world.
Over the past decade, China’s average contribution to world economic growth has exceeded 30%. Since the beginning of 2023, China’s economy has continued with GDP growing by 5.5 % year-on-year in the first half of the year, demonstrating that China’s economy is still an important engine of growth for the world economy.
“Supported by scientific and technological innovation, China has built the world’s largest high-speed railways and highways network, world-class port complexes, and has direct access to the world by air and sea. Guided by the people-centred development philosophy, China has completed the world’s largest education, social insurance and health-care systems, and people’s sense of security, of happiness and of achievement, has been continuously enhanced’’.
On relationship between China and Nigeria, she stated, ‘‘the future of China is filled with hope. The first of October is not only China’s National Day, but also Nigeria’s Independence Day.
‘‘Nigeria is known as an ancient country with a history of thousands of years which is similar to China, and its famous Nok, Ife and Benin cultures have earned it the reputation as the “cradle of African culture”.
‘‘The flourishing cultural industries known as “Nollywood” have provided an important window for the world to get close to understand Nigeria.
“The Nigerian people are hard-working, intelligent and optimistic, and I firmly believe that Nigeria will have a brighter future.
‘‘At last, I would like to say that the China-Nigeria relations are filled with hope’’.

Abia State moves to build seaport to service industrial park
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

THE Abia State Government has commenced moves to construct a seaport to service its proposed construction of an industrial park in the State.
Speaking at the 74th Independence anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China, Abia State Governor, Mr. Alex Otti, said the state would need the support of both the Chinese government and their investors.
Otti also said both the park and the proposed seaport will be ready in 24 months as the funding for the projects are ready.
He disclosed that the port will service exporters as an export processing zone will be created in the park.
He stated: “We are setting up a very large innovation of an industrial park and the flag off will happen on Saturday the 30th of September and it promises to be the largest industrial park in Nigeria.
‘‘The sitting of the Industrial Park in Owasa is because of the presence of oil and gas in the area. By the time the park is up and running, we will have 24 hours of power supply, there will be a modular refinery.
“The best decision has been made and off-course there will be industrial and manufacturing activities in addition to the residential part of the park so it is a very big project. Interestingly, virtually all money required to set up the park is now ready.
“So those are some of the projects we are working on now.
‘‘The port project is still a proposal because Owasa is about 25 nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean; so we believe that with a little dredging it will be part of the facility of the industrial park.
“The seaport will access to an export processing zone and it is going to be a free trade zone.
‘‘We have a timeline of 24 months from the 30th of September when we do the ground breaking.”

Vessel calls to W/Africa, Nigeria’s ports drops
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

There are indications the countries  within the entire West African Sub-region recorded a drop in virtually all indices of ship inspection, detention and vessel types for the year 2022.
A total of 62,087 vessels called at the various ports in the countries in the region as against 64,943 in 2021 representing a -4.4 percent decline.
Despite the drop, the Port State Control, PSC, Nigeria led the regions in all the indices of PSC regime for the year and 2021 as it recorded a total 648 number of vessel inspections followed by Senegal with 394, Cote d’ Ivoire with 338 and Gabon with 290.
There was also a drop in the number of member states that submitted their annual PSC report as only 13 members uploaded their report to the Headquarters of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding Office in Abuja while ten countries did not conduct or submitted their PSC report for the year under review.
The defaulting countries include Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Sao Tome and Principe while countries like Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Sao Tome and Principe submitted only one PSCI report for the 2021.
Besides, while a total of 23 vessels with deficiencies were detained in 2021, 19 were detain in 2022 for the same reason.
The drop in the PSC regime in the region was partly attributed to the current war between Ukrain and Russia.
Part of the report reads: “This present the summary of the Port State Control Inspection Report for the year 2022, two years after Corona Virus Pandemic ravaged the world and presently, the effect of the incursion between the Russia Federation and the Republic of Ukrain.
“In 2022 14 member states out of the 22 in the Abuja MoU region submitted PSC inspection reports and a total of number of 62,087 ship calls was recorded for the region.
‘‘The following member States have not conducted not submitted inspection reports to the Abuja MoU Information System AMIS database. Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Namibia and Sao Tome and Principe
‘‘However Cameroon has begun conducting inspections for 2023 and gradually uploading them to AMIS database, which results are expected to be reflected in the 2023 Annual Report/
“In summary, 2,421 inspections were conducted and 19 vessels detained for deficiency, resulting in a 17.39 percent decrease in the number of detentions in 2022which recorded 23 detentions.
“The detention percentage per inspection of 0.78 percent in 2022 gives a 0.1 percent decrease below the 0.88 percent recorded in 2021
“Overall, the performance percentage inspection by Members for the year 2022 is 3.90 percent compared with the year 2021, which was 4.01 percent, both percentages are far below the agreed target for the region.
‘‘A total of 1,305 deficiencies were recorded in 2022 which is higher than the 1,274 recorded in 2021. ‘‘Correspondingly, the total number of inspections with deficiencies for 2022 is 279, which is higher than the 272 for 2021’’.

Nigeria, others under study Republic Benin Single Window project, technology
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

THE leadership of WebFountain in the Republic of Benin has said that Nigeria and nine other African countries have undertaken a study of the deployment of its Single Window application to port operation in that country.
Webfountain is global provider of technology-based Customs operations, with a Single Window platform integrating all ports activities which in Nigeria involves other authorities including Port Authorities, Nigerian Shippers Council, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, among others.
Speaking to The Portal on the sideline of the just concluded Nigerian Ports and Trade Investment Forum, Director of Operations of Webfountain in Benin, Mr. Tankian Coulibaly, said that about ten countries including Nigeria came to Benin Republic sometime this year for this purpose.
He said: “Some representatives of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, came this year to see our Single Window and Port Community Systems and when the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, came to Benin he also paid us a visit to see how we are running the project.
“There is no system that do not break down but the time within which the break down is fixed is what matters, the PCS we are building is not yet completely built up, it is a process.
“We are still adding stakeholders and modifying programmes so it is an ongoing project. When there is a breakdown, there is no trade and when there is no trade, there could be a protest.”
On Lekki Port being a threat to the Port of Cotonou, Coulibaly said that of the cargo that into Cotonou is not necessarily for Benin adding Lekki Port is an opportunity for port users.

Why Cotonou Port is ahead of Nigerian ports – WebFountain
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

THE leadership of WebFountain has said the Cotonou Port in Benin Republic is ahead of Nigeria’s ports because the Cotonou port adopted a Single Window port system with a creation of a Port Community System, PCS.
WebFountain is a global information technology company specializing in building electronic platform that interconnects port operations with all stakeholders in the cargo clearing value chain.
Speaking at the just-concluded Nigerian Ports and Trade Investment 2023 Forum, Mr. Tankian Coulibaly, Director of Operations, Webfountain Benin Republic, said the PCS connects virtually all the stakeholders in both the arrival and clearance of the cargo at the port.
Coulibaly also said the PCS involves the terminal operators, the Banks, the Customs management of Benin, the Port Authority, the shipping companies and other stakeholders involved in the treatment of the cargo.
He explained that Webfountain was contracted to modernize the Customs in Benin by upgrading the old platform of Automoted System for Customs Data, ASYCUDA, to a single-window.
Coulibaly further explained that Webfountain had to de-materialize all the processes of cargo clearance and interconnect with all the stakeholders.
He said: “The introduction of Single Window into the Cotonou Port has changed the lives of the people and the way they transact their businesses and trade.
“Because of the introduction of the Single Window in Benin, the Covid-19 pandemic had little or no effect on the trading activities at the Port of Cotonou because we were used to doing things and transacting business.
“So when the lock down came in, people were not really affected. From the documentation which is done online to payment which is also done online, the only you need to be physically present at the port is when you to take delivery of your cargo so the Single Window it has been very effective.
“The PCS which is within the Single Window, and there is E-payment, cargo documentation and other aspects that are within the Single Window’’.

Nigeria is not yet a maritime nation- GoG
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

The Former Secretary General of the Gulf of Guinea, GoG, Ambassador Adenike Ukonga said the Nigeria and some other African countries cannot be clarified as maritime nations because their maritime transport capacities are still undeveloped.
Speaking at the recently concluded Lagos Maritime Week held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Ukonga said that majority of the ships providing maritime transport services are either from Europe or Asia.
Ukonga who also spoke at the conference themed, ‘MARPOL at 50- Pollution from Ships, Africa’s Commitment to Clean Oceans Seas, Inland Waters and the Marine Environment’, noted that Nigeria and the sub-region has the potentials to transport their goods and services through own vessels manned by African sailors.
She stated: “Nigeria cannot yet be classified as a shipping nation. In fact, many countries in Africa, though a party to MARPOL are not shipping countries. Maritime transportation in Nigeria and West and Central Africa is still at its and is grossly underdeveloped.
“Majority of the ships providing maritime transportation services in West and Central Africa region are from Europe, Asia and the Far East. It is a cause of great concern to maritime industry watchers that maritime transportation with so much potential for economic emancipation and the development of the coastal countries and is virtually in the hands of non-Africans and solidly in their control.
“Goods cannot move from one country to the other along the coast of West and Central Africa without first passing through Europe to be transshipped to Africa. Whereas, if the maritime transportation is well developed, even if it is within the region, there should be ships plying these routes stopping in almost all the ports of the region with shorter periods of transportation of goods from one country to another and not exceeding 2-5 sailing days en route. Right now, goods sent by Stakerom Luanda to Lagos takes about 3-4 months minimum’’.


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