Acquisition of Tug boats to reduce cargo dwell time – NPA


By Abiodun OBA


The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured that with the acquisition of Tugboats, there would be less waiting time which will eventually lead to reduction in cargo dwell time.

The Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko gave the assurance during the commissioning for Lekki Port operations, two 80-Ton Bollard Pull Tugboats christened M.T MAIKOKO and M.T DA-OPUKURO.

Bello-Koko revealed that the agency recently had a meeting with officials from Chad, Niger and Cameroon over movement of their trans-shipment cargoes from Lekki Ports.

According to the NPA Managing Director, “By acquiring this Tugboats, which are the largest in Africa, we will be able to bring in vessels of all sizes. What this means is that there would be less waiting time and it will eventually lead to reduction in cargo dwell time.

“We already have interest in other African countries. About two weeks ago, we had a meeting with officials from Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The idea is to see how we can start moving their cargoes from Nigeria to their ports.

“These countries are looking for a port that will reduce waiting time for cargoes and also have right protocols put in place.

“This Tugboats that were commissioned today for Lekki Port will help us achieve our aim of turning the port into a trans-shipment hub. I know that trans-shipment cargoes should come into Lekki Port maybe in the next three weeks.

“With these tugboats, we will tug in any vessel, no matter the size. So, this means we will take back businesses in neighbouring countries and the cargo going to other countries will come back.

“What we are doing today is a demonstration of this administration’s resolve to position the NPA to respond squarely to the contemporary demands of trade facilitation.

“This occasion is part of the fulfilment of our service charter to provide relevant marine crafts to support port security, patrol, surveillance and most importantly deliver excellent marine services especially with the commencement of operations of Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, the Lekki Deep Seaport.

“Our determination to continuously enhance our operational efficiencies accounts for the purchase of these new 80 Ton Bollard Pull Tugboats to complement our existing fleet of tugs and recently commissioned Security Patrol Boats (SPBs) and Pilot Cutters deployed to enhance channel security across all our locations.

“These neoteric 80ton tugboats are the first of the 2813 Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) Model in Africa constructed by the world’s leading ship builders (Damen) and they possess exceptional Seakeeping Behaviour, Superb Manoeuvrability of 360° using the Azimuth Thrusters, fire-fighting capability and Outstanding Towing Characteristics which will enhance the manoeuvring of large capacity vessels of 300 Metres LOA and above presently calling at our Ports.

“In addition to positively affecting the turnaround time of large vessels, their deployment will enable stakeholders to leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale, especially cost savings.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that our drive towards deploying Lekki Deep Seaport as launch pad for trans-shipment remains unwavering and this event today is confirmation of our doggedness on this noble cause.

“Let me conclude by assuring all consignees, concessionaires and other stakeholders of continuous improvement in service delivery from the Nigerian Port Authority.”

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani said that the purchase of the two Tugboats by the NPA has accentuated the determination of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to boost port operational efficiency.

In the words of Dr. Magdalene Ajani, “My joy derives from the fact that the acquisition of these equipment, amongst many others that are in the works, signposts Nigeria’s seriousness to optimize the opportunities inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which we are signatory.

“Maximizing the comparative advantages that our maritime assets as a littoral nation confers rests heavily on how much we are able to deepen our efficiency through the deployment of relevant technology and equipment.

“I particularly want to commend the NPA Management team for delivering on this project in good time to support the optimization of the Lekki Deep Seaport. This is the kind of efficiency that the Ministry supports its agencies to entrench in the polity and I am happy that we are making progress.

“Let me reiterate the support of the Federal Ministry of Transportation for the audacious efforts of the NPA and all our agencies and parastatals as we encourage inter-agency collaborations towards the attainment of the overarching goal of making Nigeria a global reference point of excellence in trade facilitation.”

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