- Port Community System tipped to provide connectivity
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has attributed the delay in achieving a National Single Window at the nation’s seaports to the disjointed and unlinkable automated platforms of various operators and regulators at the ports.
NPA’s Managing Director, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko said this while addressing State House correspondents in Abuja yesterday, stating that the Authority is expecting the second phase of assessment by foreign consultants to address the problem.
According to the NPA boss, the Authority had engaged the International Maritime Organization (IMO) who recommended the consultants that came up with the Port Community System with all port stakeholders participating in the initial phase of the consultant’s engagements.
His words: “The problem with automation in Nigerian port industry is that every stakeholder has a different automated system and some are ahead of others. We also have them not able to integrate; so everyone is working in silos. The Port Community System will be a catalyst for the deployment of a national Single Window which we hope to be achieved very soon.”
Bello-Koko also noted that there will be rehabilitation of the breakwaters in Warri port to enable larger vessels assess the port, reduce the cost of operations at the port and enable the port compete with others in the nation.
He equally expressed optimism that this development would lead to improved activities along the channel thereby enhancing patronage of larger vessels at Koko, Sapele and neighboring ports.
The NPA boss also said that the Authority has realized the importance of having proper and adequate communication between vessels on those on land, lamenting that previously the communication had been terrible and some vessels didn’t get communicated to before they entered the nation’s channels.
“We started the rehabilitation of NPA control towers which were built by Julius Berger in the 1970s and had obsolete radar systems and communication systems. However, the reconstruction has just been concluded and we have redeployed state-of-the-art communication systems to enable communication between our Harbour department and ships as they come into our channels,” he explained.
According to him, the Control Towers in Tin Can Island Port, Apapa Port and Warri Port have been rehabilitated, while plans are ongoing to also reconstruct those at other port locations.
Bello-Koko also explained that the agency has begun the process of procuring a technology called the Vessel Tracking Service (VTS) to enable it to identify, locate and monitor all vessels in the nation’s waters, even when such vessels switch off their Automatic Identification System (AIS).