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TRADE: NPA Seeks Customs Collaboration To Roll Out National Trade Platform 

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In line with the ease of doing business and to achieve 24 hours port operations ,the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said it has commenced a working relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service to roll out a National Trade Platform (NTP) to aid trade facilitation.

Managing Director of NPA ,Hadiza Bala  Usman disclosed this on Saturday at the 2nd edition of ‘All Maritime Journalists Retreat’ put together by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON)held in Badagry ,Lagos.

The M.D in her paper presentation reiterated that the collaboration would centre on three phases ,which in single window, scanner and community system.

She said :”The Authority is working with the Nigeria Customs Service to roll-out a National Trade Platform (NTP) with three units, namely the single window platform (imports and exports), scanning services and port community system.

“Management has gone ahead to establish a new single interface station at each port to capture, track and record information on all goods arriving and departing from Nigeria.

The MD stressed the arrange arrangement for the implementation of the National Single Window has reached an advance stage and  the platform will cover both land border stations. She added: ” NPA as the custodian of Nigerian ports has continued to invest in both the hard and soft infrastructure of the country’s seaports.

“As most of you already know, the ports play a significant role in the socio-economic development of any nation and you cannot talk of economic growth without the recognition of the fact that critical assets such as the seaports are the main facilitator of our collective prosperity as a nation.

”The hard infrastructure comprise physical elements such as the quay aprons and walls, port internal roads, power plants, water works, lightning and security structures, channel maintenance among others.

”The soft infrastructure comprise of services that ensure the port performs optimally and meet the expectations of port users.

These include human resources capabilities, regulatory measures and technological innovations such as electronic devices, internet of things (IoT), and web based applications etc.

While harping on the activities, she disclosed that vessel traffic within the Lagos Channel increased by more than 75%, likewise a significant increase in the number of bigger vessels berthing at the Lagos habour.

According to her the Lagos channel now has a draft of 13.5 meters, as over 100 shipwrecks have been removed from the channel.

The ports in  Lagos area,she noted have   received  container carriers of about 250 meters length that carries up to 3,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The Authority has kick started the dredging of the Warri Escravos channel, an important artery connecting the Warri Port to the Atlantic Ocean.

On some of the activities at the eastern ports,the NPA boss,explained that the current state of the Escravos channel has impeded large volume cargo operations by preventing the visit of ocean going vessels.

“The deepening of the Escravos channel and provision of modern navigational aids would transform Warri seaport and attract big vessels and ocean going barges to that part of the country where a lot of oil and gas activities are domiciled.

“Also the quay aprons and walls in most of the ports constructed many years ago that had become badly damaged, have been reconstructed and expanded for optimal performance.

On investment of harbour crafts,Bala Usman ,stressed that the authority has over the years invested in a fleet of marine crafts to serve merchant ships calling at the nation’s ports.

“Two were deployed during the historic berthing of the Egina FPSO.

“The acquisition of the four boats increased their number to nine in NPA’s fleet.  It now takes a ship less than an hour to berth after arrival at the Lagos harbour.

“The significant enhancement of the access channels and deployment of world class marine crafts such as tugboats and pilot cutters have been attracting more international maritime traffic to Nigerian ports.

Speaking earlier,President of AMJON,Paul Ogboikri said the 2nd anniversary with the theme: ” Promoting a Synergy Between the Maritime and Oil and Gas Industries For National Development, “was aimed at achieving improved operations to boost the nations economy GDP.

He urged the federal government to ensure early completion of Apapa-Oshodi expressway to ensure efficiency in port operations.

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