Dec 8, 2016: Nigeria is keen to upgrade its ports with modern machinery and technology in order to ensure a brighter future for the industry.

Major stakeholders, including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) gathered at the Executive Business Networking Lunch seminar on improving port operational efficiency organized by the Nigeria International Maritime Ports and Terminal Conference and Exhibition (NIMPORT) in Lagos.

They agreed on the fact that the application of modern technology in cargo handling equipment is important as it determines the operational effectiveness at the quay and in the sheds. According to media reports, Fortune Idu, chairman, NIMPORT, said efficient port operations is required to foster development, just as quality port equipment helps to accelerate cargo facilitation and reduce overall time losses. He also noted that addressing the issue of substandard equipment and facilities will directly address the problems for the port efficiency and in particular help reduce economic losses at the port and logistics corridors due to broken down trucks, lifters and forklifts among others.

The guest speaker, Iyiola Oni, head transport and policy, School of Transport, Lagos State University, said considering the current economic crisis, Nigerian ports needed to adapt efficiently in order to meet the ever changing and developing needs of the industry. Noting that equipment is a sensitive item in port operations, Oni said it is estimated that about 35 per cent of port’s capital budget is spent on procurement and maintenance of cargo handling equipment.

Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director, NPA, said NPA’s vision is to see Nigerian ports becoming the leading ports in Africa. This, according to her, also means that the nation must lead in modernization of equipment and infrastructure to respond to global trends in shipping business, thus developments and upgrades of existing port infrastructure, as well as improvements in port performance have become imperative.

Usman also urged operators to position themselves to deliver by investing in requisite upgraded equipments that will help in increasing efficiency.

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