Stakeholders Must Work Together to Unlock Maritime Industry Potentials – Smith, COO, Lekki Port

The Chief Operating Officer, Lekki Port, Laurence Smith, has charged stakeholders to work together to unlock the full potential of the Nigerian maritime industry so that Nigeria can become a major player in global trade. Smith made this assertion during the BusinessDay Maritime Conference which held on Thursday, 13th June 2024.

Speaking on the topic “Nigerian Maritime: Unlocking Potential, Overcoming Challenges” the COO explained that the maritime sector remains a crucial artery of the Nigerian economy that is positioned to drive growth, create employment, and connect Nigeria to the global market.

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He stated that the delivery of Lekki Port by its promoters, Tolaram and China Harbour Engineering Company, exemplifies what can be achieved with strategic investment in modern infrastructure. Due to the enhanced capacity of Lekki Port, it was able to receive the CMA-CGM SCANDOLA, the largest vessel to berth in Nigerian waters.

While applauding NPA for investing hundreds of dollars to upgrade its facilities, he urged all other government agencies located in all the ports to devise a long-term strategy for multimodal evacuation of cargo. He also noted that with the right investments in infrastructure, security, and regulatory reforms, the maritime sector holds the potential to become a powerhouse of economic growth and development for the country.
Laurence Smith was supported by Yang Xixiong, the Operations Director of Lekki Port who was a panelist on the panel session titled” Overcoming Trade Barriers and Unlocking Economic Growth”

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The Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola who was the Special Guest of Honour at the conference, assured the participants that the Federal Government is committed to improving the ease of doing business in the maritime sector. Oyetola explained further that the Ministry is making efforts to ensure efficient trade processing at the ports towards enhanced ease of doing business ranking and revenue generation.

Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko announced that the Authority and the Nigeria Customs Service will now collaborate to actualize 24-hour port operations and ensure cargo owners take delivery of their consignments without delays. He noted that this will now consequently reduce non-tariff trade barrier

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