Uncertainty as $70m channel management contract expires in 2020

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Uncertainty as $70m channel management contract expires in 2020
Abiola Seun     |    

As  the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Joint Venture (JV) dredging contracts. comes to an end in June 2020, the authority is yet undecided whether to renew or cancel the contracts.
Recall that NPA had a third party JV agreement with some foreign firms for capital and maintenance dredging of the Lagos and Bonny channels, provision of navigational aids and removal of wrecks. NPA holds 60 percent stakes in the companies.
The firms, Lagos Channel Management and Bonny Channel Management, were formed in 2006, after NPA entered into joint venture partnerships with some “technical partners”, including Dredging International, Vinci, IPEM and Dapesa Maritime International.
Each year, NPA said, the two companies got contracts worth $70 million without competition.
However,  investigation had shown that the JV contracts between NPA and the channel Management firms end by mid 2020.
A NPA source had said that the management is actually looking at the entire  joint ventures relating to the channels management and yet to decide whether to renew, review or cancel them.
Speaking to newsmen, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman assured operators that the authority will ensure that the channels are navigable.
She confirmed that the authority is yet to conclude at exactly what they are to do with the dredging firms.
She also disclosed that the authority had initiated a dredging optimisation study of all the channels leading to all seaports in the country.
“We are looking at all options available to us and currently we are embarking on dredging optimisation study. It is a study that will determine the form of dredging we will do in Nigerian ports”
When asked whether the contracts will be renewed or cancelled, she said, “Well, we are awaiting the outcome of the dredging optimisation study of the channels to determine what we intend to do with our dredging firms but what is important is that we will maintain our channels, we will manage them that everything will be provided in terms of safe navigations and necessary works that will make our channels navigable but we haven’t concluded at exactly what we are going to do.”
However, LCM, the dredging firm in charge of Lagos Channels, said the consistent dredging of the Lagos channels have made big vessels call at the ports at the western zone.
According to a source who craved anonymity, tonnage has grown at Lagos ports and has indirectly led to profit for the Authority and the company.
The source said,  “The profit comes indirect , since the port has became more efficient and effective , so bigger ships can come in and more often , the tonnage has grown since the inception of LCM.”
Effort to speak with LCM proved abortive as text messages sent to the head, Human Resources, Prince Falade Oyekan were not replied.

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