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NPA supports oil industry – Bello-Koko

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By Abiodun OBA

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has reiterated that it has been supporting the oil industry, even in a post-subsidy removal regime through its pilotage, towage and mooring services.

The Managing Director of NPA, Bello-Koko declared in Lagos on Wednesday while delivering a paper on Port Strategies to Promote Seamless Import of Petroleum Products, at a forum organised by the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Represented by Ayodele Durowaiye, General Manager, Office of the Managing Director, Bello-Koko emphasized that NPA’s compulsory vessel pilotage regime is very efficient to support the oil and gas and allied sectors.

Bello-Koko maintained that the NPA has invested heavily in the provision of berthing facilities directly for ships while working with critical government and nongovernment stakeholders like the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

The NPA MD added that the Authority has continually invested in equipment to support its operations across various pilotage districts.

Giving a breakdown of NPA interventions across various operational areas comprising four pilotage districts, Bello-Koko said in addition to existing platforms, the NPA acquired two units of 80 Bollard Pull Tugs to support its operations at Dangote and Pinnacle Oil while reassuring that more are expected as the Authority’s assessment shows greater potentials for increased oil-related maritime operations in the Lekki axis in future.

On dredging to support vessel navigation, the MD said NPA dredging campaigns are in Lagos where the Authority has a joint venture (JV) relationship with the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and Bonny Channel Management, for the Bonny /Port Harcourt axis.

“This is for both capital and maintenance dredging done to allow bigger draft ships to access the ports seamlessly and at cost-saving amounts.

“In Warri Pilotage District, the restriction to the port in Warri is that of cargo that can be loaded, not necessarily the size of the vessel. The Authority is working hard to address the issue of collapsed breakwater moles which cause serious siltation into the Escravos Channel. The consultancy service for the project has been completed and advert for bidding by contractors will soon be out.

“For the Calabar Channel Management, there is a Presidential directive that all court cases involving the parties should be suspended to pave way for take-off of the Channel management company joint venture relationship.

“This is a good development that will eventually ensure dredging campaign that addresses the restrictions to the cargo volumes that can be loaded onboard vessels arriving the port,” he said.

Bello-Koko added that his office has commissioned several study groups to look into tariffs on ship/harbour dues and the issue of payment in foreign currency but noted that the dredging cost, quay wall strengthening and other costs associated with the services NPA offers are denominated in US Dollars.

In his words, “The current port rehabilitation cost which NPA is about undertaking is estimated to cost a billion US Dollars.”

© 2023, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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