Dakuku Peterside, director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has identified investment in infrastructure; strengthening regulatory frameworks; enhance institutional cooperation; implementation of national single window and investment in human capital as factors that will make African ports to become globally competitive.

Peterside said this while delivering a paper on ‘the Significance of Maritime Regulations and Competitiveness of African Ports,’ at the conference on Port Development, which took place in Accra Ghana.

“African Ports have fallen far behind our global peers on key performance indicators. Cargo spends nearly three weeks on average in Sub-Saharan African ports, compared to less than a week in large ports in Europe, Latin America and Asia. We are below the global average on three key productivity measures of ports: gross moves per hour, berth moves per hour and man-hours per move” said Peterside.

According to him, for port operations on the African continent to experience appreciable improvement, agencies in the port community must work together to implement integrated and sustainable solutions to all the identified challenges in the ports.

He said that NIMASA is committed to strengthening the capacity of ports in Nigeria and enabling competitiveness via the effective implementation of the Merchant Shipping Act; NIMASA and the Cabotage Act by ensuring that regulating the maritime sector with the use of these instruments does not hinder efficiency in the port operations.

Peterside further said that NIMASA has upgraded its surveillance system to 24 hours to enable the agency monitor all vessels in the Nigerian Maritime Domain at all times.

He also disclosed that the integration of the NIMASA’s system with the Nigerian Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) was part of efforts to forge partnership with key industry stakeholders to enhance efficiency in the Nigerian maritime sector.

The NIMASA boss said the agency has improved Nigeria’s compliance level with global standards in order to boost investors’ confidence in the Nigerian maritime sector.

“NIMASA ensures compliance and implementation of the International Ship and Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS) Code. Our compliance level is now over 90 percent. We also enforce industry compliance on all relevant International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. Compliance with international regulation is to ensure safety in port operations, and ease of doing business in Nigeria,” he said.

Peterside also noted that the proposed anti-piracy bill in Nigeria would enhance safety and security of the Nigerian maritime territory.

“Security is essential for seafarers, ships and port facilities; the Federal Government recently approved a $186 million Integrated Waterways Surveillance and maritime security initiative which is to be run jointly with Nigerian navy and Marine Police and the Army with the sole objective of operationally eliminating piracy and criminality on our waterways”.

The conference was organized by International Quality and Productivity Centre in conjunction with Ghana Ports and Habour Authority. The DG of NIMASA was invited as a resource person. This can be seen as a direct benefit of the regional collaboration to harness the blue economy potentials as highlighted at the conference of Heads of African Maritime Administrations, which took place earlier this year in Abuja.

Recall that the director general of the Ghana Maritime Administration, Kwane Osu recently led a delegation from that Agency to Nigeria where an agreement to enhance collaboration between both countries was reached.

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