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Rehabilitation of Ports Infrastructure: Stakeholders Sing Discordant Tunes

Efforts by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) to explore practicable solution aimed at fixing broken down ports infrastructure, with special focus on the Tin Can Port collapsed quay apron, ended in a potpourri of intervention, even as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) statutorily saddled with the duty of rehabilitation of the critical deficits pleaded utter helplessness,  amid weak assurances that the sright steps are been taken.

The engagement by MARAN with the theme ‘Rehabilitation of Tin Can Island Port: Proffering Workable Solutions’, also saw critical stakeholders accusing the federal government of high level ineptitude for failure for fixing ports infrastructural decay, while others faulted the maintenance structure, with others prescribing expanded framework solution.

The interactive workshop Thursday organized by MARAN at the Rockview Hotel, GRA Apapa Lagos, attracted high heel stakeholders and was chaired by the essential maritime pundit and commentator, Dr. Eugene Nweke, Head of Research, Sea Empowerment Research Centre.

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The high table at the MARAN Breakfast Meeting


Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, MD Nigerian Ports Authority, represented by Mr. Ayo Durowaiye


The reconstruction of Tin Can Island quay walls is top on the agenda because it is the Port requiring the most urgent intervention. As most of us are aware, owing to successive decades of neglect, the cost implication for fixing Port infrastructure deficit far outweighs the budgetary provision at our disposal.

However, we have explored and identified sustainable Public Private Partnership funding options which we have put forward to government for necessary approvals. I am glad to inform this distinguished gathering that we are at conclusive stages of discussion with local and international partners with the requisite financial and technical competence to fund the Tin Can Port reconstruction project. In the meantime, we are fixing what is within our capacity.

Dr. Adewale Adeyanju, President General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria


Terminal Operators are making so much money and they should be able to repair their terminals. I gave part of my job to you on behalf of the government, where you are making your hell of money, and the place is sinking. The NPA, Shippers Council must wake up and ensure that terminal operators are involved in repairing their terminals; it should not be government alone.


Barr. Temisan Omatseye, former DG, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency

We are Nigerians, imagine the impact the degradation of the port roads is costing us. When a truck is going to pick up a container, it will charge demurrage and the cost of the demurrage will be added to the cost of goods. And so we should ensure that the ports infrastructure is in good condition.

No terminal operator should be allowed to operate in Lagos except they have a water front in Epe or Ikorodu. I don’t know why we cannot go to Ijebu Ode waterside and build a terminal and get Ondo state government to do dual carriage to Ore so that they don’t need to come to Lagos.


Lagos will not lose money but what will happen is that once the cargo moves there, all the truck owners will run over there. And the aim is for us to save Apapa, the economy of Lagos.

Shipping is very dynamic and so NPA should step into the realm of business if the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency cannot do it through their Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund.

Rt. Hon Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shippers’ Council


There is no debate about the quality of infrastructure available in this industry. If we are going to be competitive and live up to our dream of becoming the maritime hub in West African subregion, we must focus squarely on development of infrastructure and make them of International standard.

In so far as the mode of cargo evacuation still remains road network that is not a sustainable way if delivering services at any port in the world. Inland waterways, rail linkages and barge operations must come together for us achieve that ultimate objective.

Also, the regulatory framework in place is not strong enough. It is because of the weak legal framework that we have what is leading to challenges which seem like disconnection and vacuum existing among government agencies.

I have made it a point of duty to work with the National Assembly, my legacy here must be that when I left, I would leave the maritime space better and the framework better as far as our activities is concerned.

Hon Olubunmi Olumekun, President, Barge Operators Association of Nigeria

Instead of insurance bond, government is collecting N50million from our members, which they pay into the bank. Now the banks trade with our money, while we struggle to make ends meet. Nigerian Ports Authority also charge us taxes and fees in dollars, these are some of the problems we are having as barge operators.  Our operations are in line with the Local Content Act, why is our regulator charging us in dollars?

Mr. Godfrey Bivbere, President MARAN


While it is expected out of habit that some people would be pointing accusing fingers at the Nigerian Ports Authority for allowing such critical facility deteriorate to the point they are presently, it must be said that being a government parastatal; its capital expenditure must pass through the procurement processes which takes a lot of time.

I doubt if there’s anybody here who is not familiar with our bureaucratic bottleneck. As stakeholders in the maritime sector, we all know that some capital projects in the industry do not have the luxury of time. It is my considered view therefore, that given our circumstances; the Federal Government should become more representative and exempt the maintenance or replacement of critical facilities from the Civil Service procurement processes.

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