Amaechi Flags- Off Standard Operating Procedure, Service Portal At Eastern Ports

A programme designed to make the Nigerian ports a Regional Trade Hub was flagged off last weekend  at the Calabar Port by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Ameachi.Speaking at the “Port launch’’ of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Service Support Portal (PSSP), Ameachi restated the Federal Government’s resolve to improve operations at the nation’s seaports.Prior to the Calabar leg of the exercise, similar events  had taken place at Onne and Port  Harcourt ports in Rivers State..According to the minister, the ultimate goal of the project is to ensure efficiency, cost effectiveness and speedy clearance of vessels and cargoes to match global standards at the ports.Ameachi said that in the face of “current global Economic recession, there is no better time to make our seaports more user friendly and internationally competitive’’.Represented by Abdullahi Goje, General Manager, Eastern Ports, the minister called for collective support of major stakeholders at the ports and genuine commitment to the implementation of the “Integrity Plan’’.He also called for a collective resolve to promote transparency, accountability and elimination of operational impediments to greater economic performance in the Nigerian ports.Amaechi stated that the 48 hours duration target for cargo clearance was realistic.“An important component of the project that facilitates the patronage of our Seaports is anti-corruption. The SOP and PSSP have in-built provisions to prevent leakages and remove impediments militating against Trade and Investment.“ In order to enhance smooth flow of Maritime Traffic and Trade issues of Joint boarding of vessels, Joint Examination of Cargoes and Empty Container Return among others, have been adequately addressed,’’ he said.He said that the SOP and PSSP stipulated the functions of various agencies at the ports, defined their relationship with Port Users.Amaechi  said that the documents also proffered both online and telephone calls by port users to register their complaints or commend agencies for efficient service delivery from any part of the world.The minister said that only competent and experienced officers with high level of integrity and professionalism, will undertake, board and examination of vessels.“This is part of efforts to align port operations with provisions on international Maritime Organization Conventions,’’ he said.Stakeholders, including representatives of the Nigerian Shippers Council, The Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigeria Immigration Service attended the SOP and PSSP formal flag off at Calabar Port.Other stakeholders at the “Port launch’’ included the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Technical unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms and Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency.Others were, the Port Health Services and Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria.