Story By Izuchukwu Ozoemena
Inadequate provision of pilotage facilities with the resultant effect of delay in berthing and sailing of vessels has remained one of the serious challenges terminal operators have had to grapple with since ports concession in Nigeria eleven years ago.
Princess Vicky Haastrup, Chairperson, Seaport Terminal Operators’ Association of Nigeria (STOAN) and President, Certified Institute of Shipping in Nigeria stated this Wednesday at the second day of the annual conference of the Women’s Network of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa, PMAWCA, holding in Lagos.
Delivering a paper entitled Successes and Challenges of Concessioning – Practical Experiences of Women Executives from West and Central Africa, Haastrup who is also the Executive Vice Chairman, ENL Consortium Limited, acknowledged that the rise in the profile of women in Nigerian shipping and maritime activities is an on-going trend being fuelled by the acquisition of higher education, specialized skills and exposure to international best practices.
She recalled that the port is the live- wire and heart of economic activities for the wider maritime clusters including shipyards, marine equipment producers, salvage companies, offshore companies and marine construction firms, dredging firms, naval bases, commercial shipping, terminal operations, import and export and lot more.
While highlighting some of the challenges faced by terminal operators, Haastrup added that the concessionaires have also been battling with the challenges created by waterfront insecurity and the attendant operational problems.
"Some of the challenges that STOAN members are currently facing could be mentioned as follows: aged vessels with archaic handling facilities calling at the Nigerian ports and inadequate provision of pilotage facilities with the resultant effect of delay in berthing and sailing of vessels; high operating costs and waterfront security challenges which are unfriendly to our operations ".
Speaking on the neglected port access roads, the STOAN boss lamented that "the port access roads are deplorable, creating the problem of connectivity and accessibility therefore adversely affecting cargo traffic flow and loss of man- hour.
She, however, applauded the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), in collaboration with the Dangote Group and the Flour Mills of Nigeria for the ongoing rehabilitation of the port access roads.
She regretted that despite public condemnations and several pronouncements by the government to address the issue of multiplicity of government agencies in the port system, it has remained a pestering sore that is over-powering everybody.
"Till date, no less than ten government agencies can be found represented within the ports, with each intervening in the cargo documentation and clearing processes.
PIX: Princess (Dr) Vicky Haastrup