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FG begins move to transship cargoes to neighbouring countries

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The Federal Government has begun moves to transship cargoes to Cameroon, Niger Republic and Chad with the newly acquired 80 Tons Bollard Pull Tugboats by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to boost operational efficiency at the Lekki Deep Seaport.

The Guardian learnt that officials of these countries were in Nigeria last two weeks to discuss movement of their cargoes from Lekki port to their respective ports, just as transhipment cargoes are expected in Lekki port in the next three weeks.

Speaking at the commissioning, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdelene Ajani, said the acquisition of the 2813 model of Damen’s ASD neoteric 80 Tons Bollard Pull Tugboats, christened M.T MAIKOKO and M.T DA-OPUKURO by the NPA had accentuated the determination of Federal Government to boost ports operational efficiency.

She said this equipment, among many others that are in the works, signposts Nigeria’s seriousness to optimise the opportunities inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which it is a signatory.

“Maximising the comparative advantages that our maritime assets as a littoral nation confer rests heavily on how much we are able to deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of relevant technology and equipment.

“I commend the NPA management team for delivering on this project in good time to support the optimisation of the Lekki deep seaport,” she said.

The Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the launch of the equipment was in fulfilment of the agency’s service charter to provide relevant marine crafts to support port security, patrol, surveillance and deliver excellent marine services, especially with the commencement of operations of the Lekki Deep Seaport.

He said the deployed three-pronged strategy driven by people, technology, infrastructure and equipment, enhanced the agency’s corporate aspiration of attaining hub status by more efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs.

Bello-Koko said it would also enable Nigeria win back transit cargo hitherto lost to maritime neighbours.

He said the marine crafts complement NPA’s existing fleet of tugs, adding that the recently commissioned Security Patrol Boats (SPBs) and Pilot Cutters were deployed to enhance channel security across all locations.

The NPA boss said in addition to positively affecting the turnaround time of large vessels, their deployment will enable stakeholders to leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale, especially cost savings.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that our drive towards deploying Lekki Deep Seaport as launch pad for transshipment remains unwavering and this event today is confirmation of our doggedness on this noble cause,” he added.