Virtual Courtesy Call to Nigerian Ports Authority

The President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Mr. Andy Isichei, and some Members of the Governing Council paid a Virtual courtesy call to the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority ably represented by the General Manager, Marine & Operations, Capt. Jerome Angyunwe.

The Meeting which was held virtually over Zoom was to discuss matters of mutual collaboration to address pertinent matters.

In attendance to the meeting were Members of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping led by the President/Chairman of the Council, Mr. Andy Isichei.

Below are the subject matter of discussion highlighted in the letter under referenced:

  1. Advocacy
  2. Post-Pandemic Agenda
  3. Data Collection Proposal

Advocacy

Concurring with the Chairman on the structure of the agenda, President, NCS observed beforehand that the subject of advocacy was broad with every aspect being intrinsic to the Chamber as an unbroken body.

He enumerated that advocacy also covered the trending issues of barge operations, decongestion of the ports, P&I Club and Risks, patronage of local fabrication and training, which he proceeded to elucidate in sequence:

  1. On Barge Operations, he highlighted the issues of:
  • Certification, and enforcement of minimum standards
  • Safety from P&I perspective,
  • Vicarious liability,
  • Inadequacy of current NPA parameters,
  • Unseaworthy state of barges being operated, and
  • The need to scale up insurance on barges.

In response, the Chairman acknowledged the validity of the points raised and informed that:

  • NPA has reviewed Standard Operating Practices (SOP) for barge operations.
  • Enforcement of standards is ongoing by respective ports.
  • Patrol boats are being procured and deployed.
  • Safety and security standards are being upgraded.
  • NPA has called for memoranda from relevant stakeholders and will soon avail information to all stakeholders on SOPs.
  • NPA will welcome collaboration from NCS on the matter of insurance for small craft regimes such as barges.
  • River ports – interface with NIWA to receive at least 5% of port tonnages

Resolution: NPA to avail SOPs to stakeholders shortly.

  1. Decongestion of Lagos ports and the use of other Ports.

Barr. Chris advocated:

  • the use of other ports to support Lagos ports can only be sustained through the use of shallow-drafted, self-propelled, and craned ocean-going barges, that can flexibly sail into inland channels as well.
  • the institution of support for the barging regime, and
  • the application of effective regulation and certification of barges.
  • Application of policies to encourage barging through synergies with Ocean going vessels, and ship acquisition, specifically, barges.
  • Development of maritime maturity through the encouragement of shareholders.

Chairman’s Response: The Chairman agreed with the points raised but submitted that some of the issues are extraneous to the jurisdiction of NPA.

  • Feeder ports are being encouraged to handle more ships.
  • The procurement of Warri dredging is on-going.
  • Calabar navigational buoys are being rehabilitated

Resolution: NPA will look into the proposals to see what can be done within its jurisdiction.

  1. P&I Club and Risks:
  • Based on his experience in consulting service to foreign shipping lines, Barr. Chris Anyaegbunam Advocated the institution of a local classification society, which he believed was doable.
  • The President, NCS announced that the West African Chamber of Shipping was being launched with the strong encouragement of NCS and that many countries are joining the movement. He pointed out that NPA’s support was critical to the success of the Nigerian Chamber’s participation on the regional platform.

It was revealed further that the NCS was also a member of the International Chamber of Shipping.

Response: The Chairman agreed to the proposal for indigenous regulation and submitted that NPA was open to pertinent proposals from NCS.

The Chairman lauded the progress of the NCS and pledged to take up the matter of support for the Chamber’s enrolment in the West Chamber of shipping with Management of NPA.

Resolutions:

  • NCS invited to bring up a proposal on indigenous regulation.
  • Chairman to take up the issue of support for the NCS participation in the West African Chamber with Management of NPA.
  1. Patronage of Local Fabrication:

NPA was lauded for encouraging patronage of local yards through the designation of new rates.

Response: The Chairman noted that the desire patronage of local fabrication yards was consistent Government’s policy and assured that NPA would continue to encourage patronage of local fabrication yards through comprehensive rates review.

He related that NPA is upgrading its fleet and looking to procure the services of local yards to maintain and build its fleet.

He commended the earlier role played by Mr. Mina in recommending laudable strategies for barge operations at the Presidency.

  1. Training: NCS advocated the domestication of overseas training and commended the operation of the NPA Port Training Institute at Apapa.

Response: The Chairman informed that the Port Training Institute (PTI) was fully registered and accredited by the Nautical Institute. He submitted that:

  • Substantial savings in foreign currency have been made in the conduct of Pilot Refresher training.
  • Catchment clients were already showing interest in PTI.
  • He recommended that a “Working Group” comprising of NPA and NCS be constituted to develop further training.

Resolution: NPA/NCS to constitute Working Group on training.

Post-Pandemic Agenda

Domestication of overseas training to save foreign currency through synergies with global partners of NCS and the patronage of local fabrication yards were emphasized in the light of prevailing economic realities.

Mrs. Akerele also advised for the contemplation and adoption of virtual technologies to bring stakeholders together and facilitate the propagation of ideas. The proposed Working Group will be valuable in this regard.

Quarterly engagement of stakeholders is also proposed

Data Collation

Being a member of the International Chamber of Shipping, the NCS wants to help in disseminating Nigerian Ports and national shipping information to the global maritime community in line with global practices.

Response: While appreciating the gesture, the Chairman offered that on a regular basis, NPA publishes Shipping Position from all Pilotage Districts with the exception of traffic to private jetties. He however advised that NCS may need to indicate the specific categories of information required so that we can obtain Management’s approval to provide the same.

Resolution: NCS to indicate specific categories of information required from NPA so that formal approval for availing the same can be obtained from Management.         

Conclusion

Having exhausted all items of the agenda, the President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping expressed his pleasure at the success of the meeting and his fervent expectations on the constitution of the proposed Working Group.

He also seized the opportunity to express his condolence to the Managing Director of NPA on the loss of her dear uncle.

He finally requested for a recap of the meeting to ensure that we are all on the same page, even as he requested for an indication of the time frame of action on the resolutions of the meeting.

In closing the meeting, the Chairman lauded the caliber of contributions from the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping and pledged to communicate with NCS on matters requiring Management’s approval. The time frame, he assured, would of course depend on the lag between NCS response to report of this meeting, which will be sent out for their consideration before the week runs out.

Summary of Resolutions

  • NPA to avail SOPs barge operations to stakeholders, and inviting memoranda shortly.
  • NPA will look into the proposals to see what can be done within its jurisdiction.
  • NCS invited to bring up a proposal on indigenous regulation while Chairman is to take up the issue of support for the NCS participation in the West African Chamber with Management of NPA.
  • NPA/NCS to constitute Working Group on training.
  • NCS to indicate specific categories of information required from NPA, so that formal approval for availing the same can be obtained from Management.