Lagos, Nov. 16, 2023: Stakeholders in the maritime have expressed optimism that the recommendations from the Workshop for the Development of a 25 Year National Ports Master plan would revolutionized Nigeria’s blue economy.
The stakeholders gave their different opinions about the 25 years document being sponsored by consortium of ports investors at the conference ongoing at Rockview Hotels Apapa, Lagos.
The consortium of investors includes: Rogan Associates, a consulting engineers and architects, Parkman Nigeria Ltd, Enviplan International Ltd and Planet industry.
The Managing Director of Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko said that the port authority had immense optimism that recommendations of the reports would have far reaching benefits on the growth of the ports authority.
He noted that the ports authority would be willing to work on the recommendations from the reports for effective system that would engender a robust blue economy for the country and provision of employment.
“This 25 Year Master plan will collectively address the challenges that have plagued our ports and lead us on a journey to more efficient and sustainable future.
“The Master plan will provide a roadmap to improve maritime infrastructure and will give us an edge in global competitiveness and job creation,” he said.
The Team Leader, Dr Christos Solomonidis in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the stakeholders workshop disclosed that the preliminary reports of the challenges of the ports system and administration had identified some gaps to be addressed that would help the industry grow.
“This is a challenging project for us because it is a long term plan that will help reshape the ports system and administration in Nigeria.
“We have seen some gaps and also have discovered enormous potentials that we cannot quantify in a sitting. Nigeria has a lots of potentials in the ports system which have been slowed down by some bottlenecks.
“These gaps are what we want to further identify and plug to help the country grow it’s blue economy and we hope this will long lasting solve the challenges of the ports system with the creame of stakeholders on discussion.
“Some of the recommendations in the reports are short term which government can easily address within two or three years,” he said.
Solomonidis added that issues of safe and secured environment for businesses around the port system was paramount as well as decongestion of the port.
“Some of the issues can be solved easily like security and policing, combating piracy and also ensuring free flow of traffic and reducing congestion is also a problem to be addressed.
“We also have issues such as dredging to allow for ships, barges and others to berth and the development of the greenfield projects as well as alternative source of energy for the port authority.
“There are more areas which the private investors will come in because port infrastructural development cannot be a purely be based on public funding alone,” he said.
The Deputy Team Leader, Mrs Dabiri Shall-Holma noted that the expectations from the stakeholders conference were enormous.
She posited that the 25 years Masterplan had been designed in such a way that would be devoid of government policy summersaults which has been the bane of development the maritime sector.
She noted that the entire marine and blue ecosystem if well structured would move the country from the level of poverty to a level of affluence, prosperity and job creation.
“The port system, though a complex, but a very rewarding system which is the gateway to blue economy.
“In the short term plan, we are looking at creating a workflow system, freight analytics and a detailed workflow chart that is operational,” she said.
Another Deputy Team Lead, Mr Musa Nimrod also added that the economic advantage of the 25-years Masterplan plan would be something Nigeria would be proud of thereafter.
“The 25 years Masterplan is a journey to prosperity in the marine and blue economy in Nigeria.
“We are looking at various challenges painstakingly, all these challenges will be addressed and the gaps will be looked into.
“We are losing billions of dollars to the neighboring countries when we have the capacity in Nigeria, we need to take back our businesses from these countries.
“We cannot be talking about viable continental shelf in Africa and people will be referring to South Africa, Egypt, Ghana and not talk about Nigeria which should be the leader.
“We are on the part of growth and we will surely provide a formidable documents that will revolutionized the marine and blue economy of the country,” he said.