NPA tasks maritime arbitrators on speedy dispute resolution

  • To reopen training school for industry capacity building

By Anthony Nwachukwu

As a necessity for the growth and development of the maritime sector, the Ag Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, has called for quick and speedy resolution of disputes in the industry, insisting that failure to promptly address perceived grievances will undermine development.

Bello-Koko, who was addressing the new executive committee of the Maritime Arbitrators of Nigeria (MAN) in his office, assured that to forestall situations that result in prolonged litigations among industry players, the NPA will support the group to establish an arbitration centre in Lagos.

He noted that disagreements are inevitable among industry players, but assured that the centre will help to fast track conflict resolution within sub-Saharan Africa, while urging stakeholders to approach the centre rather than resort to the often unnecessary, time-consuming and costly litigations.

Bello-Koko expressed delight over the decades-long synergy between both agencies in the area of support, consultancy and exchange of ideas, which has been beneficial to them and the industry at large.

Commending the impacts of maritime arbitrators in solving past legal issues, he promised NPA’s necessary support to enable the body achieve a conducive business environment. He further urged MAN to seek support from the ministries of transport and justice to enhance their enforcement of disputes at the nation’s seaports.

Earlier, leader of the team, Mr. Bodunrin Adewole, had called for the establishment of a complaint desk at all ports to help fast track dispute resolution. According to him, swift resolution of disputes at the ports will automatically enhance efficiency and also assist the NPA to realise its mission statement.

Meanwhile, after years of abandonment, the NPA said it will soon reopen its training school to alleviate stakeholders’ difficulties in sourcing training facilities for manpower development and capacity building, and also save cost.

Bello-Koko, who disclosed this to the outgoing management team of the Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS) during its courtesy visit to the agency in Lagos, stated that the NPA was willing to partner industry players to boost the sector’s manpower and capacity building.

He assured of the agency’s readiness to reach out to various training institutes to develop appropriate curriculum, and also engage retired staff with vast knowledge “in our dream of becoming the centre of skills and academic excellence,” a statement from the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Ibrahim Nasiru, read.

Bello-Koko described the renovation of the NPA training facility, with capacity for over 250 participants, as a testament to his administration’s commitment to ensuring adequate and recurrent training of relevant workers in the maritime industry as and when due.

“Management is proud of our workforce which can stand out anywhere in the world in the area of efficient delivery of port services,” he noted.

Commending the “rancour-free” tenure of the outgoing NIS management, its contributions to the development of the maritime sector and the synergy among relevant shipping agencies, he assured that his administration was open to ideas on positive development in the sector, especially towards achieving a hub status for the sub-region.

Earlier, the leader of the NIS delegation, Segun Olufioye-Johnson, commended the NIS’ collaboration with the NPA, especially in capacity development, while seeking stronger ties in research, development and consultancy.   He explained that following the NIS’ past efforts, the University of Lagos has established a centre for multi-modalism studies with emphasis on rail, road and sea.

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