The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) want to dragged freight forwarders to rally round the Agency in controversial termination of the Ocean Marine Services Limited (OMSL) contract in the Lagos Secured Anchorage Area (SAA).
The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, made the plea on Tuesday during President of African Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Mr. Frank Ogunojemite led executives of the association on a familiarization visit to the Agency corporate office in Marina, Lagos.
Usman who was represented at the event by the Executive Director, Marine Services of NPA, Dr. Sokonte Davies, reiterated that in the Act establishing NPA, it is the responsibility of the agency to secure its anchorage, even as he queried the rationale for giving out such a contract.
AmehNews recall that both the NPA and Messrs OMSL have been at loggerhead since the contract as terminated. The National Assembly is currently probing the termination.
Usman maintained that, freight forwarding associations should be at the fore front galvanizing support for the NPA in terminating the contract.
She told her guest that, “presently what we ate tackling is the so-called Secured Anchorage Area (SAA), NPA is mandated by its Act to of provide for every vessel. And every vessel that calls does not need to pay to anybody to be on the anchorage”
Explaining further, NPA boss said that it is the responsibilities of the Nigerian Navy to protect the nations territorial waters.
“It is the responsibilities of the Nigerian Navy to protect the territorial integrity of the nation on the water. So we do not understand why anybody should pay anybody to be on the anchorage while the vessel is coming”, she added.
According to her, the NPA is doing everything possible to reduce cost of doing business and to also ensure that Nigerian ports are very competitive.
“We expect that you should give voice to what we are saying like I was saying if you ask us we will explain to you. This issue should be at the front burner of freight forwarders because they are the ones that complained about cost of doing business”
“So, when actions are taken to review that cost, you should be in the forefront, but we have not heard you”
“The cost of doing business in our ports should be reduced and in so doing, there are few challenges that we have come across and we have taken measures to make sure that our ports become encouraging”
Speaking further she said that the agency is committed towards ensuring adequate security at the nation’s ports.
“We are also on the front line of providing security, so whatever impedes on the security of the nation, the management of NPA will really do whatever it requires to avert such things”
“So it is expected that you give us support for whatever policy, our doors are open, you can write to us and we explain such things to you. Like I said we cherish stakeholders’ participation and involvement”
“A couple of freight forwarders, I don’t know who they are have made unnecessary comments. So we expect your association that is a conglomerate of other associations to be in the fore front to make statements”
“We do appreciate your desire to meet with us, we cherish stakeholders’ engagement and consultations. And so when an organization comes to meet with us, we usually create the opportunity for us to meet”
In his response speech, Frank Ogunojemite said, as a new association it is very important for it to meet the landlord of the port before they can fully commence operations.
“The main reason we are here today to see you as the landlord of the ports is because there is no way we can be in operation without meeting with the people that matters, this is the reason we came for the visit”
Explaining further Ogunojemite said, “Most of us in this association migrated from one association or the other to embark on this. So we look at APFFLON as a digital association that tries to fill the vacuum of what has been happening in the industry. We have tried to engage ourselves in a couple of things,” he concluded.