The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is set to embark on a comprehensive rejuvenation initiative, allocating a substantial N878.9 billion ($1.1 billion) for the rehabilitation of seaports across the country. Mohammed Bello Koko, the Managing Director of NPA, outlined the ambitious plan during the 43rd PMAWCA conference in Lagos.
The primary goal is to strengthen Nigeria’s trade competitiveness and harness the potential of the Blue Economy. With a focus on upgrading physical infrastructure, the NPA aims to accommodate vessels of all sizes, increase draft depths, and enhance global competitiveness.
The initiative includes collaborations with the private sector for new seaports, such as the operational Lekki Deep Seaport and the upcoming Badagry Deep Seaport. To address logistical inefficiencies, the NPA is implementing alternative cargo evacuation measures, including barges and expanded rail infrastructure. Automation, cooperation with the International Maritime Organization, and a state-of-the-art port community system aim to optimize cargo clearance processes.
Additionally, efforts to streamline operations involve clarifying government agency responsibilities within ports through a newly developed port process manual. On the security front, the deployment of the Deep Blue project is making significant strides in reducing piracy incidents in Nigerian waters. The NPA’s collaboration with Nigerian Customs aims to minimize bottlenecks and reduce business costs within ports. A 25-year port master plan is also in development, guiding the strategic location, sizes, and activities of ports, terminals, and jetties in Nigeria.
Martin Boguikouma, President of PMAWCA, emphasized the importance of addressing challenges in the region to accommodate the increased traffic anticipated due to AfCFTA, suggesting collaboration, capacity building, and investment in efficient transport infrastructure as key solutions. Gabon’s proactive measures, including a Memorandum of Understanding and harmonized customs duty, were highlighted as successful models for free trade.