The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has tasked maritime stakeholders on the importance of adhering to the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) in promoting efficiency and transparency in port operations.
The Executive Secretary, (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, made the call at a two-day seminar on the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) held in Lagos on Tuesday.
The seminar had the theme, “Global Best Practices in Port Operations and the Industry Perspective.
” He said the conversations on obligations of various stakeholders, mode of terminal operations, shipping operations, attitude of truckers and role of dock workers as enshrined in the manual would provide beneficial information.
He noted that these information would add to their knowledge of the sector for everyone to foster operational efficiency in line with global best practices.
“I commend the doggedness and commitment of the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) which has resulted to the laudable achievements recorded since the commencement of the operations of the team.
“The implementation of the Manual has facilitated the ease of doing business in our ports and has drastically reduced corruption tendencies.
“This seminar is put together by the PSTT, comprising the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
“The seminar is designed to provide participants with the opportunity to deliberate on subject of mutual interest, identify problems bedeviling the sector, and consciously proffering sustainable solutions,” he said.
He said the proper understanding and application of the manual would bring about cost-effectiveness, reduction of waste while maintaining quality of service.
He added that it would also bring about transparency in the conduct of port businesses, which would produce trust and goodwill while safeguarding the industry’s reputation among investors, partners, customers and other stakeholders.
“It is my belief that if relevant stakeholders and authorities comply with approved standards and rules as enshrined in the manual, challenges faced today will automatically ease off and pave way for seamless operations at our port,” he said.
Also, Mr Moses Fadipe, Coordinator PSTT, while discussing the overview and feedback on the manual urged all agencies to review their system to comply with the standard of the NPPM.
He also pointed out that the manual was designed as zero tolerance policy for wastefulness.
According to Fadipe, the teams at the port corridor are to arrest the logjam caused by trucks, adding that they have achieved some semblance of orderliness with the improved turn-around time of cargo examination.
“What this means is that more containers are examined and this increases the traffic of trucks moving out of our ports, from 125 in Apapa to 195, from an average of 170 in Tin Can to 230. “So, with all these statistics, we know that more trucks are coming in to the ports,” he said.
Fadipe noted that the PSTT had instituted an enduring mechanism, which had aided them, such as advocacy, , intelligence gathering, introduction of registers for monitoring examiners and others.
He listed some of the hindrances experienced as: boarding officers, fragrant disregard to joint boarding on examination of cargo, excessive sample taking, boarding officers misinterpretation of information and misuse of power.
“The task team is inundated with complaints and suggestions pointing at serious barriers to business.
“Specialised civil society in the industry and private operators may be viewing agencies of government as too preoccupied with the idea of stopping trucks outside the ports for investigations.
“As representatives of the government, we are challenged to look inward to identify personnel that are compromising at cargo examinations leading to stoppages on the roads and bridges of the corridors.
“If it is a case of unskillfulness, it will be necessary that the capacities of the examination officials are built properly.
“These will serve to enhance the corporate image of our respective organisations,” he said.
Some stakeholders present at the seminar were the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Freight Forwarders, terminal operators, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
The stakeholders pointed out that the manual was not cast in stone and should be reviewed so as to be more effective.
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) says that the enlarged Presidential Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) has rid the port corridor of shanties and trucks constituting nuisance within three months.
Mr Emmanuel Jime, the Executive Secretary, NSC, said this during an inspection of the port corridors on Tuesday in Lagos.
Jime said that the success recorded would enhance ease of doing business.
He noted that the success was recorded along Apapa TinCan to Coconut, Berger yard, Mile 2, Orile and Ijora axis.
According to Jime, Apapa is fantastic and it is good they are starting on a positive note.
“The journey started three months ago where a lot of people were skeptical whether or not this was going to be successful, owing to the fact that other efforts in the past obviously failed woefully.
“The success can be attributed to collaboration among state actors, which shows that if there are group of people that are committed and sincere to the execution of a mandate, anything can be done and that is what the task team have proven,” he said.
On inbound traffic and cargo, he said that it was work in progress, adding that they were comfortable where they were with the outbound traffic at the moment.
He noted that the next step was to see how they could translate the particular success recorded with the outbound to the inbound.
“The formula is clear, all stakeholders must be on board for us to succeed.
For the first time I can boldly say that this is one team that no one can compromise and that has always been the problem.
“Government will set up an agency with very good intentions, usually it’s the implementation that runs into trouble.
“Implementation has issues when there are lack of sincerity, honest and commitment and the greed most people bring to bear.
“People when they are given an opportunity of service especially at the public sphere, it becomes an opportunity to have a meal ticket for themselves and their families and this should not be so,” he said.
Jime also urged the Lagos State Government to deploy technology in collecting tolls to minimsie conflicts on the port corridors.
Also, Mr Moses Fadipe, the National Coordinator PSTT, disclosed that going forward, any state actor caught for defaulting would be taken to appropriate authority for prosecution.
He said that the successes recorded was not without challenges such as attack on team members but were able to surmount them.
“As regards checkmating activities at night, we have our surveillance team on ground to give us happenings at night.
At the stage we are, we are trying to collate these happenings.
“In a short while we are going to commence targeted stink operations to remove those actors there.
All these things we see at night, there is a control measure, we are working on it,” he said.
Mr Olayinka Sakiru, Director in the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, said that the state government was working to ensure that there were other means of collecting tolls rather than along the road.
“The success achieved is very noticable, we appreciate the efforts of the port team and we will continue to collaborate to see that the corridor is free of traffic,” he said.
Mr Remi Ogungbemi, President Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), said out that some state actors were conniving with non-state actors to cheat truckers.
Ogungbemi urged the shippers council to look into the issue.
Dr Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, on Friday tasked agencies in the maritime sector to support the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) to work seamlessly.
Ajani, represented by Mr Adams Ofie, Deputy Director at the Federal Ministry of Transportation, made the appeal at the Enlarged Presidential Standing Task Team flag-off of the second phase of Operation Free the Port Corridor in Lagos.
She noted that the corridor was along Apapa-TinCan-Coconut-Berger yard-Mile 2-Orile-Ijora SIFAX area.
Ajani pointed out that the ministry was aware of the various challenges of the task team, which included inadequate logistics and operational need for a more robust and effective implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual.
She said accordingly, the request of the task team was currently receiving attention of the ministry for possible intervention and immediate facilitation of the acquisition of logistics and operational needs for seamless operations.
“The Enlarged Presidential Standing Task Team on assignment tagged Operation Free the Port Corridor mission is to remove all illegal checkpoints and shanties on the port corridor.
“The team is also aimed at eliminating traffic gridlock and corrupt practices that are impinging ease of doing business in Nigerian port.
“The first phase was flagged off on April 14 by the minister of transportation to ensure that issues of corruption and gridlock on the port corridor is a thing of past,” she said.
She appreciated the members of the PSST for their achievement in the first phase, urging all stakeholders to support the team for better results in the second phase.
Mr Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, said the second phase was a 15.6km stretch of road littered with shanties and trucks parked indiscriminately.
Jime noted that the trucks caused untold hardship and created opportunities for extortion and other sharp practices by non state actors.
According to him, many people have reservation on the ability of the task team to clear the Apapa port complex with a view to bringing sanity and ensuring free flow of traffic.
“We all know the enormity of the task but the NSC with other committed stakeholders are resolute in their resolve to contribute to changing the narratives.
“The task team has achieved its objectives, however, the successes recorded were not without dire consequences such as intimidation, threat to live and physical assault of operatives and also their gadgets.
“I urge the port task team to continue to sustain the achievements recorded so far,” he said.
Mr Moses Fadipe, National Coordinator, PSTT, appreciated the support of the ministry in asking sister agencies to shoulder some of the financial and logistical responsibilities of the task team.
Fadipe, while giving an overview of the successes and challenges of the first phase, added that the burden of funding the task team was solely on the Nigerian Shippers Council, despite its paucity of income.
“The imperative of multi-agency support for logistical and personnel needs of the task team is more relevant now considering that the operational phase we are about to flag-off will be covering 15.6km compared to the 2.6km earlier covered during the pilot phase.
“The intervention of Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency will be greatly appreciated in this regard.
“In addition to any other support that they may wish to render, we specifically require more pick-up vans in the fleet to aid the operation,” he said.
Other stakeholders present at the flag-off are Nigerian Ports Authority, Department of State Service, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Road Safety Corp, among others.