Trade Facilitation: NPA Set for Full Automation of Nigerian Seaports Operations

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NPA MD,Mohammed Bello Koko
  • Out to Beat IMO 2025 Deadline for IT Software Deployment

By Shola Fadeyi

As part of measures to facilitate trade and improve its revenue , the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has set machinery in motion to achieve  full automation of all the processes and operations at all the seaports nationwide.

To make this realizable, it has consulted the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) , the body which is in charge of all matters concerning maritime globally   and it is thus set to introduce  the long expected Port Community  System and  Harbour  Automation  , a software that will enhance clearing processes at the seaports.

The Port Community  System and Harbour  Automation  is a central system for exchange  of data and processes to which all stakeholders at the seaports , namely NPA , Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Custom Service , Shipping companies , and  terminal operators , are to log into . for exchange of data .

Though , IMO has made it mandatory for all the seaports globally to deploy  IT  soft ware in their operations  by 2025, but the seriousness   to which the NPA management attaches to  full automation has made it to decide  that it will achieve the purpose , latest 2023.

The Managing Director of the NPA, Mr Mohammed Bello Koko  who  made these clarifications at a Media parley   in Lagos at the weekend, where he dwelt on the activities of  his management since the past 11 months , eight months in acting  capacity and three as substantive,  said, he would like to see all Nigerian Ports fully automated,  because  automation will be the backbone of efficiency  at the seaports.

According  to him,  automation   will  improve revenue and make it possible for NPA to contribute more  into the  Consolidated Revenue Fund(CRF)  , enhance trade  and   allow management to achieve all it wants to achieve.

‘’So we have been embarking on gradual automation of the Port system , but we want to put in place  the new automation technology , to have something that everyone should log into.So we are out to upgrade the automation of the port system in line with what obtains in other seaports in developed societies and we must automate in such a way that it would not be done haphazardly’’ , the NPA  MD  said.

The MD stated that the utmost responsibility  of the NPA and any modern port for that matter is to facilitate trade , adding that the need of the Authority  to achieve this has made it mandatory to   have the planned   software and design a new  technology  that will speed up processes and as such accelerate the release and clearing of goods at the seaports.

Bello Koko pointed out that   it has been able to get the buy in of the stakeholders and convince  them to key into the Port Community    project, for the fact that , it has made it known to them that the introduction of the  platform will not affect the  E- Customs of  the NCS.

He also spoke on the management efforts as they concern other aspects of seaports  , namely the need to upgrade and rehabilitate the seaports infrastructure, encouragement of construction of deep  seaports in the country, better regulation of the Barge operators, the review of the  concession agreement of the concessionaires which  lease has expired and staff welfare, among others.