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Nigeria’s regional maritime hub status: NPA inaugurates modern control towers for Lagos port complexes

By Steve Agbota 

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Thursday, moved to further reduce vessel-turn-around time at the nation’s ports of Apapa and Tin-Can with the commissioning of the Apapa and Tin-Can Ports control towers by the agency’s Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko. 

NPA said safety and security constitute critical operational preconditions towards the actualisation of the regional hub status.

Speaking during the commissioning exercise, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, said that the commissioning of control tower signposts NPA’s  unwavering commitment towards improving operational efficiency through aggressive infrastructure and equipment renewal. According to him, safety and security constitute critical operational preconditions necessary for the actualisation of the agency’s strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa.

He said in pursuit of its strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has inaugurated modern Control Towers for the Lagos and Tin Can Island Port complexes.

“The multiplicity of functions such as Vessel Traffic Management, Navigation Assistance, Advance Visibility, Safety and Security, Emergency Response, Communication, Resource Management and Disaster Risk Mitigation amongst other crucial functions, which a control tower enables are the reasons why we placed the equipping of this facility on top priority as management team. 

“As most of us are aware, safety and security constitute critical operational preconditions necessary for the actualisation of our strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa, which is why we placed high priority on putting in place a modern control tower of this nature in order enhance our domain awareness capability,” he said.

He added that placing high priority on putting in place modern control towers would also enhance the agency’s domain awareness capability.

“The commissioning of this communication and data-generating facility which enhances our capacity to collate, organise and distribute vessel data with relevant stakeholders in a consistent format is timely as it is coming at a time when the series of efforts geared towards having a Port Community System (PCS) necessary to make our ports more competitive and thus attractive of greater vessel traffic are beginning to crystallize.

“Given the decrepit and non-functional state we met this facility, the decision to invest so much towards making it the state-of-the-art and well equipped edifice was made taking cognizance of the need to equip our highly cherished and well trained marine talents with the right tools and comfort required to deliver efficient services to our stakeholders.

“Sustainably providing efficient port service in safe, secure, and customer friendly environment requires that we ensure and assure that we are up to date in terms of skill and equipment, and I will like to assure that beyond this commissioning today, we are resolved to continually equip and re-equip this facility whilst training and re-training its users to be best-in-class,” explained. 

However, he implored all users of the facility to make the best use of it and expected that the Authority begin to realise commensurate value for money spent.

On the need for sustainable operational efficiency, Bello-Koko said the NPA is partnering with the Nigerian Navy for the rehabilitation, re-equipping and locating of its signal stations near the naval base for improved communication.

“Also, we are in partnership with NLNG Ship Management Limited to provide VTS that will ensure improved operational efficiency. In keeping with our resolve to deepen synergy with sister agencies, we have constructed a building facility to provide operational comfort for government agencies that operate within the ports for both Tin Can and Apapa.

“Undoubtedly, a lot of hard work was put to make this project a reality, so I want to commend Marine & Operations Directorate, Engineering, Training, Facilities Management and all other departments who partnered with them to actualize this remarkable feat.

“Let me add that there is a pressing need to deepen our maintenance culture. The sustainability of investments such as this rests heavily on how well we maintain them which we are committed to do. The benefits of this investment such as reduction in cost of training, improved capacity to monitor quality, speed, convenience and deepening of local content amongst others will certainly make us all proud to be a part of this noble cause,’’ Bello-Koko said.

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