The acting managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, has stated that deliberate measures and investments are being undertaken to create a fully digital ecosystem in all the country’s port locations by 2025, a statement from the authority has said.
The statement issued by the assistant general manager corporate and strategic communications, Ibrahim Nasiru, quoted the managing director as disclosing this during a presentation on his organization’s “Digitalization Roadmap and Current Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Implementation Status” at the 41st Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) Annual Council Meeting and 16th Round-table Conference of Managing Directors of PMAWCA, in Douala, Cameroon.
He informed the delegates that a lot of work had gone into the smart port transformation agenda of the authority, aimed at the enthronement of a paperless, time saving and cost efficient port operations.
Bello-Koko who was represented by the executive director, engineering and technical services, Prof Idris Abubakar, disclosed that the NPA first deployed a main computer system in 1975 to improve its payroll management, billing, statistical and accounting systems. From 1992, the deployment of personal computers was done at each port location to ease data management, and information sharing was difficult as there was no connectivity between the ports.
He said in 2011 the authority reviewed its ICT strategy in line with its new role as landlord, following the concession of port terminals in 2006. The primary focus of the new strategy is on enterprise computing and heavy dependence on network infrastructure, along with a centralised and shared database, the statement said.
It added that the adoption by NPA of a phased ICT deployment was geared towards achieving a fully integrated port operating system; to foster relationship with all internal and external stakeholders, to streamline NPA’s internal business processes; to make use of high-end smart technologies; as well as to record, monitor and utilize data for better decision making.
“A five-year plan is now being implemented by the authority for the attainment of a fully digitised port system in Nigeria.
“So far, the authority has deployed a portfolio of systems and infrastructure towards the actualization of its ICT objectives,” he said.
These he added, include oracle enterprise business suite for financial and human resources planning; billing/revenue and invoice management system (RIMS) to fast-track billing processing; customer portal/electronic ship entry notice (eSEN)/manifest upload for shipping traffic management; hyperion budgeting for management of annual budget; command, control, communication and intelligence system (3Ci) for maritime domain awareness and management of vessel calls; truck call up and gate access control for the control and schedule of trucks to the ports as well as manage truck traffic around the port corridor.
With the international supply chain faced with several disruptions, the NPA MD said the authority intended to focus on the smartness level of the port than the size of the port in order to optimize productivity and meet the expectations of port users.
In his welcome message, president of PMAWCA and director general of Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA), Mr. Micheal Luguje, described the conference theme; “Digitalized Port as a model of Port Efficiency”, as very relevant because more than ever, Covid-19 had indeed thought people that they live in a very fragile world. “Within a space of time, the dynamics with regards to world trade and our ways of life can change dramatically,” he said.
The PMAWCA 41st Council Meeting was declared opened by the minister of transport in Cameroon, Mr. Massena Ngalle Bibehe. The Roundtable Conference was chaired by the director general, Port of Douala, Mr. Cyrus Ngo’o. The event attracted heads of PMAWCA member ports and sister organizations that include International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH,) International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) Union of African Shippers Council and Abuja MoU.