The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) yesterday launched a Safety, Information and Operations Centre at the Lagos Port Complex in order to check the influx of unwanted crowd in the port.While commissioning the centre in Apapa, Managing Director of NPA; Hadiza Bala Usman said that the facility was developed for the purpose of providing prompt dissemination of information to all port users and the public in the port community.She assured that the facility which includes: a Customer Care Unit (CCU), an Electronic Display Information Board, a Safety Centre and a Gym, shall be operated on a 24-hour basis.Hadiza said the initiative which was conceptualised by the Port Manager of the Lagos Port Complex; Hajia Aisha Ali Ibrahim is to provide customers and visitors with the avenue to engage with the NPA. She added that the safety centre is to give safety briefings on any issue attributable to access into the port."We also established a customer care centre whereby stakeholders can go and lodge issues they have with port operations. This would enable the NPA to respond in a timely manner in line with the challenges of the customers""The customer care unit is manual, you put in your complain and we respond to it, but if it concerns any terminal operator, we would get in touch with them and provide you with a feedback. On the information Centre, safety briefings are provided and information on security is also provided""This is where people can come and get information, if they are able to get that information, they might not need to get access into the port. Also when you have a customer care centre, it provides you response to your complaints" Hadiza said.She expressed the NPA's determination to make the ports competitive in line with international best practices and to continue lifting the NPA in terms of infrastructural development in order to achieve sustained enhancement of efficiency and provision of enabling environment for business in the ports.Also speaking at the commissioning which was attended by many stakehilders, Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN); Princess Vicky Haastrup said that the facility would forestall the trend of unwanted crowd besieging the terminals on daily basis.She assured that terminal operators would continue to support the NPA to achieve its set goals to ensure the ports is operated well."I believe other port managers would emulate what Aisha has done by putting in place this kind of facility, it takes business up to the level of international best practice as done in other ports of the world""Sometimes in my terminal, we begin to wonder how do people pass through the NPA gate and get to the terminal? These are questions agitating our minds, but this facility would take care of all that. Questions would be asked and anyone who has no business to do in the port would simply be turned back" she said.Also speaking, General Manager of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL) Dr. Emmy Jadesinmi noted that the NPA under Hadiza Usman has used the economic downturn to work more than ever to make Nigerian ports better. She acknowledged that NPA has done enough to move import and export forward to grow the economy.Also, Chairman of Apapa Chapter of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Mr. Olumide Fakanlu noted that the centre would further enhance stakeholders’ productivity at the ports. He urged all agents to make use of the facility for the progress of the port. Chairman of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF); Mr. Fred Adjuzie on his part, vowed to sensitize all freight forwarders on the various changes at the ports. According to him, the port of yesteryears is no longer the same.Another concessionaire, managing director of Port Harcourt-based PTOL Terminal; Mrs. Lizzy Ovbude urged other ports to take a cue from the Lagos Port Complex even as she urged the NPA management to put the facility to good use. "I hope the facility would not be dormant and it would be used for the purpose it was meant for".