Maritime This Week: Recap of News and Events

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MONDAY DECEMBER 16, 2019

Abiodun OBA       |

This medium started the week with an editorial opinion captioned “Disbursement of Cabotage Funds: Can Amaechi be Trusted?

Last week Thursday, December 12th, 2019, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, at a public function in Lagos, said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) in January 2020.

If Amaechi had expected the stakeholders, especially the distraught ship owners, to applaud and jump up for joy for a piece of obviously good news, he must be mistaken.

To many of them, who have apparently grown weary of the long wait for the disbursement of the controversial funds, the announcement was nothing more than a hollow ritual of failed promise which they have grown accustomed to hearing from the Minister.

Since 2004 when the scheme was established, no single Shipowner had benefitted from the funds which actual accrual has been subject of controversy.

 

NPA organises cancer screening exercise for staff

The Tincan Island Port Complex (TICPC) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Monday began medical screening exercise for its male employees above forty years old.

The exercise which is expected to be weeklong, kicked off on Monday with the aim of early detection of cancer in male workers for easy management or outright cure.

Dr. Chidi Ebere Ndukwe Ogo, Chief Consultant, Neurologist of the Federal Medical Centre who spoke with newsmen on the sideline of the programme, said that the exercise was targeted at men with age limit between forty and above.

Road rehabilitation: truckers increase freight rates

The on-going road rehabilitation of Apapa/Oshodi expressway in Lagos has resulted in hike in cost of transporting cargoes from the ports to other parts of the country.

Aside the Yuletide festive season which is another contending factor, the truckers observed that the palliative measures along Tin Can, Coconut and Mile 2 stretch has made haulage operators relocate their businesses to other industrial communities across the South West region.

This, according to truckers who confirmed the development over the weekend, attributed the cost hike up to scarcity of trucks as a result of the ongoing road rehabilitation along the Apapa Oshodi Expressway in Lagos.

 

TUESDAY DECEMBER 17,2019

SIFAX invests N7.2 Billion on handling equipment

Foremost indigenous terminal operatorPorts & Cargo Handling Services Limited, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, on Monday showcased new handling equipment worth 7.2 billion naira it acquired.

The new equipment includes; 5 shore cranes, 9 Reach Stackers, 10 terminal tractors, 5 Nissan pickup vehicles, 4 trailer backs and other machineries.

Mr. Adekunle Oyinloye, Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group hinted that the acquisition was part of the company’s strategic investment to deliver quality service to its clientele and to further attract more patronage.

 

Border Closure: Seme Customs Intercepts N1.6billion Contrabands In 11 Months 

The Seme Area command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) yesterday said it seized 47 trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country in 2019.

In a press statement made available to newsmen by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Husaini Abdulahi, the Customs Area Controller of Seme, Compt. Muhammed Uba said the seized rice which is equivalent of 28,180 bags of rice worth N778million.

According to the statement, the command made a total seizure of N1.6billion which include vehicles, used clothing, textiles and Vegetable oil.

 

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 19, 2019

Piracy: Senate praises OMSL for investing $400M in SAA & Nigerian Waterways

  •  wants Navy to procure 150 vessels
  •  commends Nigerian Ports Authority

The Senate on Wednesday commended the Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) for its genuine national interests in investing over four hundred million dollars into the security at the Secured Anchorage Area (SAA) and Nigerian Waterways.

The commendation was made after consideration of a report of the Senate Joint Committee on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance on the investigation of the illegal activities by OMSL at the SAA of Lagos Ports.

The Senate also called for proper funding of the Nigerian Navy to enable it procure over one hundred and fifty vessels needed to undertake their constitutional responsibilities of securing the country’s territorial waters

The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator George Thompson Sekibo, in his report, said the heightening insecurity in the Nigerian waters in 2012, particularly at the Lagos Ports, led to the establishment of the SAA.

 

Manual Customs Processes, Overtime Cargoes Hamper Port Efficiency – Terminal Operators

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup has identified poor port access roads, manual cargo examination by the Nigeria Customs Service and the preponderance of overtime goods as factors affecting efficiency of Nigerian seaports.

Speaking in Lagos recently at the 2019 Annual Stakeholders’ Appreciation Night organised by Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the STOAN Chairman said bad roads have become “the largest single obstacle working against the efficiency of our ports.”

 

THURSDAY DECEMBER 19,2019

Port congestion looms as Freight Forwarders, Truckers down tools in January over operational challenges

Barring last minutes intervention by relevant authorities, the nation’s seaports may be plunged into another round of crisis as angry freight forwarders and transporters have concluded arrangement to withdraw their services from January 2020.

Rising from an emergency meeting Wednesday in Lagos, the group under the aegis of Concerned Freight Forwarders and Transporters (CFFT) said the strike action has become the last resort in its bid to draw the attention of Federal government to the operational challenges its members are facing at the ports.

 

FRIDAY DECEMBER 20, 2019

Importers Reroute Trapped Cargoes to Lagos As Apapa Customs Generates N414bn

The federal government has continued to reap the benefits of the recent closure of the nation’s land borders to import and export as shippers re-route already diverted cargoes to Cotonou, Benin Republic seaports back to Lagos port.

Speaking on Friday at the media briefing on the activities of the Apapa Area Command from January 1st to December 18th 2019, the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), Compt. Mohammed Abba -Kura said since the beginning of the border closure, the command’s revenue have been on the increase.

According to him, the command generated N414billion from January to December 18th 2019 as against N404billion generated between January to December 2018.

Giving the breakdown, Compt. Abba-Kura said the command generated N112 billion between September to November 2019 as against N95billion generated in 2018 giving a difference of N17billion.

He said, “The land border closure has partly increased our revenue because if we look at the revenue profile of the command since the closure, you will see that every month, there are increment.”

 

Oyo State to nurse relationship with Nigeria Shippers’ Council

The Oyo State Government would continue to nurse the good relationship between it and the Nigeria Shippers’ Council to achieve the desired economic transformation, targeted by the state government.

The Director-general, Oyo State Investment and Public-Private Partnership Agency, Hon. Segun Ogunwuyi made this assertion Friday during the inspection of Ibadan Inland Dry Port at Akinyele Local Government in Ibadan.

Ogunwuyi, alongside the officials of Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) and the Railway Corporation of Nigeria (RCN) took a ride of the standard rail from Ibadan to Lagos to ascertain level of work done after which they visited the Inland Dry Port at Akinyele.

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