Maritime Expo to assist operators in sourcing funds, equipment

Activities in the maritime industry closed on Friday with an assurance by the Planning Committee of the 2015 Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) to assist maritime operators in sourcing funds and equipment.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Ayorinde Adedoyin, spoke on the move in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said the exhibition which would come up from March 29 to April 1 would focus on trade promotion.
Adedoyin said efforts would be geared toward bringing people that needed funds and equipment together, as well as those who could provide the vital resources to develop the shipping sub-sector.
He said that NIMAREX had drawn government’s attention to the potential of the maritime industry in order to grow the nation’s economy.
Meanwhile, the Apapa Port Manager, Mr Nasir Mohammed, called for improved rail service, noting that the provision of more wagons and locomotives would boost the operations of Inland Container Depots.
Mohammed said the initiative would also take some traffic off the roads, which had been overstretched.
He also said that the port management would dislodge squatters from the port and restrict the movement of persons with no legitimate business in the ports.
According to Mohammed, the port remains a security facility and the NPA will ensure safety and security of workers in the area.
NPA, in its daily publication, ‘Shipping Position’, stated that 16 ships laden with petroleum products and food items had arrived Lagos ports, waiting to berth.
It stated that 43 other ships were expected with general cargo, food items and petroleum products from Jan. 16 to Feb. 7.
Earlier in the week, the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) said it faced many challenges in its operations in 2014 due to changes in some government policies.
The spokesman of STOAN, Mr Bolaji Akinola, said the policies did not consider the concession agreement and business projections.
Akinola said that terminals handling bulk cargo like rice and fish as well as the Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) operations were affected.
He urged the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to introduce 24-hour examination of goods, especially containers, to facilitate cargo clearance.
According to him, this is already being practised in some ports in India, to ease cargo traffic.
Dr Olisa Agbakoba, a Maritime Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), at a news conference during the week, drew government’s attention to the need for policy, institutional, regulatory and legal framework overhaul in the maritime industry.
Agbakoba said this would enable the government to tap into an estimated N7 trillion which could come from the maritime sector annually.
The maritime lawyer urged politicians to focus their campaign on alternative sources of revenue other than the oil and gas sector.
Also in the week under review, stakeholders lauded the decision of Mr Eporwei Edike, the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Area Command, to address complaints made against some retired officers who engaged in shoddy deals in the command.
The controller directed the Deputy Comptroller, Administration to identify bona-fide officers to checkmate the situation.