By ORU LEONARD
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has listed what he termed game changers that will make Ports on the African continent to be globally competitive to include investment in world class infrastructure, strengthen Regulatory Frameworks:, Enhance Institutional Cooperation, implementation of one-stop portals like the national single window and adequate Investment in human capital.
Dr Dakuku stated this while delivering a paper on the Significance of Maritime Regulations and Competitiveness of African Ports at the conference on Port Development, which took place in Accra Ghana.
In his words “African Ports have fallen far behind our global peers on key performance indicators. Cargo spends nearly three weeks on average in Sub-Saharan African ports, compared to less than a week in large ports in Europe, Latin America and Asia. We are below the global average on three key productivity measures of ports: gross moves per hour, berth moves per hour and man-hours per move”.
He noted that for Port operations on the African continent to experience appreciable improvement, Agencies in the port community must work together to implement integrated and sustainable solutions to the identified challenges.
The NIMASA DG restated the Agency’s commitment to strengthening the capacity of Ports in Nigeria and enable competitiveness on the African continent via the effective implementation of the Merchant Shipping Act, NIMASA and the Cabotage Act by ensuring that regulating the maritime sector with the use of these instruments does not hinder efficiency and negatively affect business operations in the Ports.
Speaking further, he said that NIMASA has upgraded its surveillance system to 24 hours and can consequently monitor all vessels in the Nigerian Maritime Domain at all times. He also disclosed that the integration of the Agency’s system with the Nigerian Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) was part of efforts to forge partnership with key industry stakeholders to enhance efficiency in the Nigerian maritime sector.
He informed the audience, which cuts across stakeholders from all the regions of the African continent that Nigeria, has improved her compliance level with global standards in order to boost investor confidence in the Nigerian maritime sector.
“In a bid to boost investor confidence and benchmark to global standards, NIMASA actively ensures compliance and implementation of the International Ship and Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS) Code, our compliance level is now over 90%. We also enforce industry compliance on all relevant IMO and ILO conventions. Compliance on international regulation is to ensure safety in port operations, and ease of doing business in Nigeria” he said.
Dr Dakuku also noted that the proposed Antipiracy bill in Nigeria would enhance safety and security of the Nigerian maritime territory. “Security is essential for seafarers, ships and port facilities; the Federal Government recently approved a $186 million Integrated Waterways Surveillance and maritime security initiative which is to be run jointly with Nigerian navy and Marine Police and the Army with the sole objective of operationally eliminating piracy and criminality on our waterways”.
The conference was organized by International Quality and Productivity Centre in conjunction with Ghana Ports and habour Authority. The DG of NIMASA was invited as a resource person.
This can be seen as a direct benefit of the regional collaboration to harness the blue economy potentials as highlighted at the conference of Heads of African Maritime Administrations, which took place earlier this year in Abuja.
You will recall that the Director General of Ghana Maritime Administration, Mr Kwane Osu recently led a delegation from that Agency to Nigeria where an agreement to enhance collaboration between both countries was reached.