Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, acting director general of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said the two Lagos seaports located at Lekki and Tin Can Island were operating “well beyond their installed capacities”.
“What that just means is that if they were built to handle 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), for example, they are probably now handling around 700,000 TEUs,” he told the journalists Sunday in Lagos.
He said the situation had resulted in aggravated massive congestion which the city had caught up with with the ports.
“There is no space to expand the ports. What we need to do is improve the activities in the ports, in terms of efficiency.
“In 2006, when the NPA licensed the terminals, there was a development plan between the NPA and the terminal operators and that development plan included both physical development and equipment deployment.
“Terminal operators have lived up to these agreements and everything has changed, but you need bigger and more efficient equipment, better IT systems, and so on.
“We have seen an improvement in terms of efficiency; there is an increase in efficiency. But there is room for more. We observed system downtime at one or two of the terminals, specifically the APM terminals, which is one of the terminals.
“Every time the APM Terminal system goes down, it causes a lot of backlog in terms of traffic.
“What we’ve done is sit down with the terminal operators and tell them they need to improve their operations; we have a supervisory and regulatory department at the NPA, which has an index that on a monthly basis we review and score trades.
“We also sit down with them at the end of the quarter to discuss their performance; we look at where they did well and where they are lagging behind.
“We also stressed the need for a better synergy between what terminal operators and shipping companies do, as some of them also have affiliated shipping companies working with them.
“To improve port operations, we have developed a policy that establishes storage bays for empty containers and we have mandated all shipping lines to ensure they have a storage bay outside of the port. port premises for their voids.
“This is to ensure that importers, when they remove their cargo from the port to unload it at their business premises or warehouse, do not bring the empty container into the port.
“Such containers should instead be brought into the waiting bay.
“Second, we have demanded that for every vessel that enters Nigeria, when it leaves, it must carry at least 80% of the containers it has imported, either empty or as export cargo, because Nigeria was already being transformed. in a landfill for empty containers.
“To a large extent it worked because those empty containers were taken out. But we make sure that is monitored and that the efficiency has increased, ”he said.
He also spoke about the electronic call system, also called “Eto”, the policy deployed to control congestion in ports.
“I visited the main truck fleet itself, located at the Lilly Pond terminal in Ijora, to see what is going on. I went around and went to the ports. The idea was for me to understand firsthand what the problem is.
“I met Truck Transit Park (TTP), the company that deployed the ‘Eto’ system platform on behalf of the NPA, and we analyzed what happened from February to May.
“We observed failures one of which was the non-deployment of the electronic call system – the computer information technology system – which should have been in place in some places in the satellite truck fleets.
“We also looked at the non-deployment of physical infrastructure such as kiosks, automated doors, and we gave them an ultimatum to deploy the infrastructure or lose contracts.
“Eto’s essence was actually to streamline the movement of goods in and out of ports, to reduce human interference and to speed up the process of delivering goods.
“As long as there is human interference, there will be delays, there will be extortion, etc. What we need to do is work on human interference, Eto ticket theft, etc.
“Very often we have situations where a truck driver is along the road and he has his Eto ticket and at the next bus stop a security guard stops him to tell him to let me see your Eto ticket and the number. Eto ticket number is 123456.
“The driver is probably so many kilometers away; that number could be given to someone who could walk into a certain building around Apapa and, probably in 15-20 minutes, get a printed plate number that could be used to access the port.
“Shortly after, the real owner of the number now shows up and their ticket has been used and that is why we have now requested that TTP change this to a QR code; when you have a QR code, we can scan it and you will pass, ”he said.
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