The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko has restated that it’s compulsory vessel pilotage regime is very efficient to support the oil, gas and allied sectors.
Bello-Koko who said this in Lagos while delivering a paper on Port Strategies to Promote Seamless Import of Petroleum Products, at a forum organised by tge Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
Represented by Ayodele Durowaiye, General Manager, Office of the Managing Director, he said pilotage, towage and mooring services represent some of the major areas it is supporting the oil industry, even in a post subsidy removal regime.
According to him, the NPA has invested heavily in the provision of berthing facilities directly for ships while working with critical government and non government stakeholders like the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL)
The NPA MD who was a guest speaker at an event organised by stakeholders in the oil importation business, added that the authority has continually invested in equipment to support it’s operations across various pilotage districts.
Giving a breakdown of NPA interventions across various operational areas comprising four pilotage districts, Bello-Koko said in addition to existing platforms, the NPA acquired two units of 80 Bollard Pull Tugs to support it’s operations at Dangote and Pinnacle Oil while reassuring that more are expected as the authority’s assessment shows greater porentials for increased oil related maritime operations in the Lekki axis in future.
On dredging to support vessel navigation, he said NPA dredging campaigns are regularly undertaken notably in Lagos where we have a joint venture (JV) relationship with the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and Bonny Channel Management, for the Bonny /Port Harcourt axis.
This is for both capital and maintenance dredging done to allow bigger draft ships to access the ports seamlessly and at cost saving amounts
He said “In Warri Pilotage District, the restriction to the port in Warri, is that of cargo that can be loaded, not necessarily the size of the vessel. The authority is working hard to address the issue of collapsed beeakwater moles which causes serious siltation into the Escravos Channel. The consultancy service for the project has been completed and advert for bidding by contractors will soon be out
” For the Calabar Channel Management, there is a Presidential directive that all court cases involving the parties should be suspended to pave way for take off of the Channel management company joint venture relationship. This is a good development that will eventually ensure dredging campaign that addresses the restrictions to the cargo volumes that can be loaded onboard vessels arriving the port” he said
He added that his office has commissioned several study groups to look into tarrif on ship/harbour dues and the issue of payment in foreign currency but noted that the dredging cost, quay wall strengthening and other costs associated with the services NPA offers are denominated in US Dollars.
According to him the current port rehabilitation cost which NPA is about undertaking is estimated to cost a billion US Dollars.