In a move towards enhancing efficiency and transparency in Nigeria’s maritime sector, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has assured that the implementation of Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) will commence in the second quarter of 2024.
Speaking during a familiarization visit to Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) and Port and Cargo Handling Services Terminals in Lagos on Thursday, the Executive Secretary of the NSC; Mr Pius Ukeyima Akutah, stated that port efficiency and automation will increase vessel dwell time and cargo turnaround time.
Akutah revealed that the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set for the Council by President Bola Tinubu initially projected to achieve CTN implementation by the third quarter of 2024. However, he informed that NSC is actively engaged in collaboration with stakeholders to expedite the process, aiming for the CTN to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2024.
Acknowledging the challenges and opportunities within the sector, the Executive Secretary stressed the importance of collaboration with private sector entities to achieve the goals set by President Bola Tinubu for the trillion-dollar blue and marine economy.
According to him, his visit to the terminals was to court the operators’ support as the administration sought to rebuild the sector through private sector participation and investment. Emphasizing the significance of the Cargo Tracking Note, Akutah stated that the NSC is working closely with partners to expedite the adoption of this crucial technology.
“President Bola Tinubu, is looking at moving from a billion-dollar economy to a trillion dollar economy by the end of four years and the Marine and Blue Economy ministry is one of the pivotal ministries that will drive this economy to that extent. And if you see what the president is trying to do in the sector, it is to rebuild the entire sector from the marine aspect and bring the blue economy into it and you know that this is heavy investment.
“Based on the KPIs of the Shippers Council given by President Tinubu, the NSC is going to achieve the implementation of ICTN by the third quarter of 2024 but we are looking at an earlier date as we are working with the stakeholders to know how we can achieve that by second quarter of 2024. Therefore by then, we should have the cargo tracking note,” Akutah assured.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of the TICT, Mr Etienne Richer, stated that the terminal has invested over $190million in the nation’s maritime sector underscoring the importance of Lagos Port as a central hub in Nigeria’s port network.
Rocher also bemoaned non-linkage of the Tin-Can Island port to rail line, saying importers, thereby, resorted to using barges to evacuate cargoes from the terminal. He highlighted the need for fair adjustments of tariffs to ensure the sustainability of terminal operators, emphasizing the critical role they play in contributing to the Nigerian economy.
“So far, we have invested over $190million in equipment, infrastructure. We have also employed over 1,500 Nigerians directly and indirectly. We also pay our taxes to the government in terms of royalty,” Rocher stated.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary also expressed satisfaction over the impact that Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited; subsidiary of SIFAX Group has had on the nation’s maritime sector.
Speaking during his maiden courtesy visit on the management of the terminal, the Shippers Council boss noted that Ports & Cargo has maintained its status as the foremost indigenous terminal operator in the country and has made everybody proud with the way it has run its operations.
Akutah said: “We are very pleased with the operations of the terminal over the years. You have positioned yourself as a terminal to reckon with. Your investments in the maritime sector has continued to shape the growth of the blue economy and you have proven that you have the necessary expertise to run this terminal very well”.
“I want to solicit your support as always. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has given us a mandate and his eyes are firmly on the growth of the sector. We will roll out measures that will support your continued growth. The Council will firmly collaborate with all operators this year to maximize success and entrench more automation of the sector too.”
In his response, John Jenkins, Managing Director, PCHS, thanked the NSC boss and hinted that the terminal is open and willing to collaborate with the Council to achieve the vision of the president. Other management team members of the terminal present during the visit include- Capt. Ibraheem Olugbade, Executive Director, Administration, Tobi Afolabi, Executive Director, Operations, Sogo Faola, AGM Transfer, PCHS and Patience Nwaogwugwu, Head, SIFAX Stevedoring.