Vessels berthing at the nation’s ports have began to enjoy a quicker turnaround time as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has unveiled its electronic ship entry notice (e-sen) meant to deal with the problem of cargo delay and turnaround time of ships.
Speaking at the launch ceremony in Lagos Wednesday, the Managing Director of NPA, Malam Habib Abdullahi, said the innovation (e-sen) was part of the programmes of the present leadership of the authority in its quest to make the ports safer, more secure and generally more user friendly.
He lamented that shipping agents manually handled their ship entry notices in the past, which had its own challenges including delays and increase in demurrage.
“Stakeholders purchased booklets of application forms, filled a leaflet and submitted manually to the designated SEN offices located in either the western ports or eastern ports head offices depending on the port of call. This process is full of challenges including duplication, delayed verification and validation of ship data, among others.
“The e-sen, when fully operational will eliminate delay in confirmation of payment of provisional bills across the ports, long documentation and payment confirmation procedures arising from confirmation of payment of provisional bills.
“This platform will help build a data repository of ship movement in all the ports for intelligence, research and educational purpose, eliminate revenue leakage and improve port efficiency as well as promote transparency and efficiency in the entire ship entry notice process,” he explained.
According to the NPA chief, the NPA leadership, which came on board two years ago, has put in place port revitalising strategies that have led to appreciable increase in the Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) due to capital and maintenance dredging of the channels.
The dredging activities, he argued, brought about increase in cargo throughput from 44,953,073MT in 2005 to 77 million MT in 2013.
“The biggest vessel to call at any port in West Africa (WAFMAX) with a length of 232.33 metres and capacity of 4, 500 TEUS requiring 13.5 meters has started visiting our ports due to our consistent dredging campaign, the weekly call of WAFMAX vessels to Lagos and Onne port is a great achievement,” he said.
“It is also a privilege that it was during the tenure of this management that the Federal Government approved the development of a deep sea port in Lekki under a PPP arrangement. Other similar projects are located in Ibaka in Akwa Ibom, Olokola in Ondo/Ogun states, Badagry in Lagos State and others in the pipeline.
“Also in February, we introduced the electronic payment solution which, has tremendously improved our operations by identifying and blocking all avenues of revenue leakages, investment in massive infrastructural renewal and development geared towards deepening the channel to attract larger vessel.”
In the area of capacity and manpower development, Abdullahi said 3,091 out 4,245 workers have enjoyed both local and foreign trainings as a way of revitalising the workforce, which he described as the backbone of the authority.
“Again, 321 personnel who have served the organisation for 30 to 34 years have also been rewarded with long service awards.”
Also speaking at the event, Executive Director, Finance and
Administration of NPA, Mr. Olumide Oduntan, said the platform has been integrated with the Lloyds’ Ship Register, even as he said that names of ships expected at the ports (shipping position) would be displayed live on the platform.
Oduntan said the authority has trained 30 of its staff in the capabilities of the e-sen, stressing that more stakeholders will enjoy the same exposure.In his comments at the event, Chairman, Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Val Usifo, commended the NPA management for the new initiative, describing it as a radical departure from the old order.
“There used to be a lot of complaints in obtaining SEN but this new process has eliminated all of them; it saves a lot of time and money. Gone were those days that we found it difficult to obtain SEN,” Usifo stated.
Source : SunOnline