A fresh move by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to improve operational efficiency in the industry has given conventional ports the liberty to carry on with whatever services they have competencies to operate at the ports.
To realise the drive aimed at reducing monopoly and improving efficiency, the NPA Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, has directed that “every terminal in the port is free to receive any cargo in so far as they have the technical competence to handle such.”
Usman, who spoke when she received members of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) in her office in Lagos, assured that the agency “would ensure a level playing field for all operators and that no investor is above the law, and that all must comply with laid down rules and regulations.”
The directive, which some industry experts feel was not fair in view of the concession agreements that gave terminal operators licences and bills based on the services they indicated to operate ab initio, will certainly trigger stiffer competition for customer-satisfaction and, possibly, a reduction in cost of services.
Among the beneficiaries is Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, a subsidiary of the SIFAX Group, which runs the Terminal ‘C’ at the Tin Can Island Port, among others, as the directive restores its RoRo services.
The general cargo terminal licensee, Ports & Cargo, which celebrated its resumption of RoRo activities recently and boosted it with bonded terminals to give importers the benefit of choice, had to halt operations over complaints by neighbouring Five Star Logistics Company.
Meanwhile, Usman has requested greater collaboration and support from the academy on new engineering projects, noting that “NPA has a large pool of competent engineers who are versatile and contributing immensely to the organisation.
She assured that the agency would support the academy according to its capability, while also considering the possibility of supporting relevant technical institutions through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) services, especially in capacity building.
President of the body, Mrs. Joanna Maduka, who had earlier expressed joy at what Usman had achieved within a short period, solicited the agency’s support for the academy’s efforts to resuscitate engineering institutions and colleges in Lagos.