MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News, Events 

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MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News, Events 

MONDAY FEBRUARY 24, 2020

Abiodun OBA

Whither Moghalu’s NIWA?

Since October 2nd, 2019, when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed George Moghalu as the substantive Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), there have not been much activities in the agency.

We have noticed an unnerving quietness and uncanny silence from the authority.

NIWA, an agency of government which oversees water transportation and other ancillary services in the country, occupies a very crucial position in the Nigerian economy.

In the world over, just like rail transportation, inland waterways transportation has become an attractive alternative to other mode of transportation due its convenience, safety and cheap cost.

But in Nigeria, this vital mode of transportation has suffered a stunted growth due to lack of development and failure of government to take advantage of its full potentials.

By extension, NIWA, the agency charged with the functions of harnessing the potentials of Nigeria’s vast coastline and converting them to opportunities has over the years not lived to expectations.

 

Akeredolu Targets N500bn Investment Through Ondo Deep Seaport Project

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, says the development of a deep seaport project in the State will generate more than N500billion investment to the host communities in Ilaje Local Government Area where government is proposing to establish the port.

Speaking at the stakeholders forum relating to the Environmental Site Investment Assessment (ESIA) and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the project, where he met with traditional rulers and representatives of the community in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday, Akeredolu assured that the project remains at the top of his list of priorities for the state.

Also present were the Consultants to the project, representatives of the Federal and State Ministry of Environment and Community Based Organisations (CBOs).

 

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 25, 2020

Shippers Council, Customs collaborate on Single Window for increased revenue 

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) will work together for the introduction of a single-window platform that would enable all regulatory agencies at the ports to ensure compliance to procedures, reduce delays and boost revenues.

Mr. Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary of NSC, said this when he paid a courtesy call on the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) in Abuja.

“E-Customs is the appropriate technology that will gladden the hearts of many. In no time, if there is synergy among the regulators, Customs, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and others, there will be a lot of compliance,”

“We represent the shippers but we also know that compliance is a serious problem. If all the shippers would comply, then, there won’t be delays. Delay is occasioned by persistent failure to comply, and this is sometimes deliberate.

“It is to avoid the tax or customs duty that has really caused low compliance, and that is what we are really going to focus on this year — to work with Customs to see that if you comply your goods will be out; nobody will stop your goods.”

Bello expressed the readiness of the NSC to assist the NCS in achieving its N1.6trillion revenue target in 2020.

 

Congestion persists at Lagos ports despite NPA’s vessels diversion directive

Congestion of vessels at anchorage and cargoes at seaports still persists three weeks after the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) issued directive for diversion of vessels to eastern ports over congestion of Lagos port, investigation has shown.

Recall that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had said it would on Monday 27th of January start diverting vessels that had been held up for longer periods of time in the congestion crisis rocking the Lagos ports to other ports in the eastern ports of Onne, Rivers, Calabar and Warri.

Last week, German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd has said it will start diverting container vessels destined for Apapa ports to Tin-Can Island port over congestion.

 

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 26

NIMASA receives vessels to fight Piracy, Sea-robbery 

In another milestone towards ensuring Nigeria’s security, the Federal Government on Tuesday in Lagos received two Special Mission Vessels (SMV), geared towards ridding the Country’s waters of criminal activities.

The Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, took delivery of the Special Mission Vessels under the Deep Blue Project.

The vessel, DB Lagos and DB Abuja, which arrived the country recently are equipped with sophisticated intelligence gathering capability for timely detection and response to illegal activities in the Nigerian maritime domain.

“Piracy is an act inimical to the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and we are prepared, more than ever before, to give it all it takes to end this nefarious act,” said Ibas, who was represented by the Chief Security Officer, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral M. M. Bashir.

 

 

“We Have Lost Over #20bn to Substandard Goods” – ANLCA

The national President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Iju Tony Nwabunike said freight forwarders and brokers in Nigeria lost over #20 billion as a result of substandard goods over the years.

Nwabunike made this known on Tuesday at a one-day sensitisation programme organised by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) tagged; ‘Facilitating Trade Through SON’s Automated Services’ in Lagos.

He explained that the loss was as a result of the goods brought in by importers, discovered by SON to be substandard and subsequently destroyed even after freight forwarders and brokers had spent their resources clearing such goods.

Nwabunike pointed out that such a loss incurred by brokers and freight forwarders has never been paid back by importers.

“We have lost over #20 billion to substandard goods brought in by importers over the years. When these goods are brought in, and later discovered by SON to be substandard and burnt after freight forwarders must have spent their money to clear such goods.

“These importers don’t pay back such money and it becomes a loss to our members, “Nwabunike said.

 

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 27

NIMASA on Reps’ full status enquiry

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has been placed on full status enquiry over failure to present its audited accounts from 2015 to 2018 to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

The House of  Committee on Public Accounts, at an investigative hearing in Abuja, also placed the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation on status enquiry, while also summoning the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, over unaudited accounts of the NDIC.

A representative of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr Julius Dung, at the session confirmed the non-receipt of the accounts of both organisations.

The committee had last week summoned the Minister of State for Transport, Mrs Gbemisola Saraki, and the permanent secretary of her ministry to explain the continued shunning of its summons to the Director-General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside.

Peterside, however, failed to appear before the committee on Tuesday.

 

Senate urges FG to establish trailer parks and introduce weighbridges 

The Federal Government has been called upon to establish trailer parks and introduce weighbridges along the highways.

The Senate on Tuesday made the appeal following the increasing rate of road accidents caused by articulated vehicles in the country.

The Senate also urged the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Road Safety Corps and Vehicle Inspection Officers to clamp down on erring drivers of trucks and other articulated vehicles plying the nation’s highways.

It claimed that the vehicles were plying the roads without compliance with the minimum prescribed safety requirements.

 

Clearing Agents Appeal To Lagos Govt., Say Okada Ban Affecting

Clearing agents operating at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island seaports have appealed to the governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, to rescind the ban placed on tricycle and motorcycle popularly  known as Okada in Apapa.

Speaking to journalists, the agents under the aegis of Association of Concerned Freight Forwarders and Logistics (ACFFL) said the ban has affected port operations.

According to the chairman of the group, Andy Best Omenogor, since the sector contributes 30 percent to the state economy, through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), banning Okada operation in Apapa will have an adverse effect on the state revenue emanating from Apapa and Tin-Can Island port.

 

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 28

CRFFN Stops NAGAFF’s Compliance Team

 

The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN) has directed one of its affiliate associations, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders(NAGAFF) to put on hold the activities  of its 100 percent compliance team pending the restructuring and reintegration processes by the Council in line with its regulatory objective.

Also, this was to enable the council conduct professional tests on the members of the team.

It could be recalled that NAGAFF, at an elaborate ceremony last week Friday, unveiled its 150-member compliance team which is to ensure full compliance with the extant guidelines on cargo clearance procedures by all the players in the cargo clearance chain with a view to checkmate any abuse in the process.

The team is expected to commence operations from the March1st, 2020.

 

Stakeholders brainstorm on ease of clearing charitable items; set up SOP committee.

Stakeholders have unanimously agreed to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for easier clearance of charitable items from the nation’s seaports in order to avoid conflicts often encountered with government agencies and owners of such cargoes.

The stakeholders which include members of the upper and lower chambers of the national assembly operators and representatives of government agencies in maritime industry and other relevant stakeholders in shipping community, stressed the need for a seamless and automated clearing procedures of such consignments meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), orphanages and less privileged persons.

The sensitisation program held on Thursday in Lagos, was put together by the Nigerian Shippers Council and the office of the Deputy  President of the Senate, with the theme: Programme of event for stakeholders consultation on the ease of shipping and clearing of charitable items.

Speaking at the event, Deputy President of Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said that the shipping industry, had had perennial cabotage problems, especially at the upstream point; especially as it affects charitable shipped items.

 

NPA, APMT to fashion out modalities and processes on truck management at the port 

The House of Representatives has directed the Nigerian Ports Authority and the concessionaire, APM Terminals Apapa (APMT) to fashion out modalities and processes that will be in conformity with international best practices on truck management at the port.

This directive was given when it resolved to investigate alleged extortion of truck drivers by the terminal security operatives consequent upon a motion titled “Urgent Need to Investigate the unwarranted Extortion of Truck Operators and other Port users by Law Enforcement Agents at Apapa Port”, moved at Thursday plenary by Hon. Olusola Steve Fatoba from Ekiti State.

The House believed that the extortion was responsible for the traffic challenges as operatives delayed the movement of trucks drivers who refused to “cooperate” with them.

 

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