- NPA pledges more support for Ports & Cargo, others over lockdown
Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman (right), Group Executive Vice Chairman, Sifax Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Managing Director, Adekunle Oyinloye, General Manager, Billing, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited (PCHS), Abayomi Obadare, and Managing Director, John Jenkins, during Usman’s visit to PCHS as part of her impact assessment tour of terminals in Lagos over the Covid-19 lockdown on port operations.
As part of plans to expand operations and further consolidate business, indigenous multinational, SIFAX Group, said it has acquired a new facility that will serve as an off-dock to further help in decongesting the ports.
The Group Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, disclosed this Thursday when the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, visited the company’s subsidiary, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, during her assessment tour of terminals at the Tin Can Island Ports (TCIP), Apapa.
Stating the company’s desire for barges, even ships, to be able to access the facility on completion, Afolabi appealed to the agency to help in dredging the waters to the facility, according to a statement from the Sifax Group Corporate Affairs Manager, Muyiwa Akande.
“I want to inform you that we have acquired a new property that will be used as an off-dock, and we will require the assistance of the NPA, in conjunction with the Lagos Channel Management, in dredging the waters to allow for barges and even smaller ships to berth at this terminal.”
Meanwhile, Usman has requested Ports & Cargo, which operates the Terminal ‘C’ at the TCIP, as well as other seaport terminal operators, to list and submit to the agency for quick resolution their operational challenges arising from the lockdown over the Coronavirus spread.
Usman pledged the NPA’s support towards resolving some of the challenges being experienced by the company over the lockdown, stating that the agency was collating the challenges of all terminal operators and would pass them to the appropriate agencies for necessary action.
According to her, the Federal Government was committed to smooth port operations at this period to keep the economy running, and “I want to assure you that we will continue to support the operations of SIFAX Group and other port operators around the country.
“Any assistance required from the agency should be put into writing and forwarded to my office. This is because I read all letters addressed to me and will make sure that proper action is taken on the requests.”
Earlier, Sifax’s Group Managing Director, Adekunle Oyinloye, had enumerated the terminal’s daunting operational challenges since the lockdown began, including “harassment and detention of staff by security agencies despite presenting their ID cards, cover letter from NPA and bank closure at the ports, among others.
“We will need your assistance to address these obstacles to our operations. Also, in order to avoid congestion at the ports, we have stemmed some of our containers to our off dock facilities.”
Similarly, the Managing Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, John Jenkins, urged NPA to sensitise security agencies on port operations, prevail on them to allow more trucks from outside Lagos access the ports, and make public transport available for port workers.