BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
Determined to comply with the presidential directive on the resumption of 24 hour port operations in Lagos ports, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has commenced a 24 hour turnaround time for analysing cargo manifests and issuing Debit Notes to Shipping Agents.
Recall that the Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo had in May signed three Executive Orders as part of the federal government initiative under the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to ensure ease of doing business in the country, one of which was the resumption of 24 hour port operations in Lagos Port.
However, these changes will impact on the overall performance of ports operations by reducing the dwell time of vessels calling at the Lagos ports while increasing efficiency of the entire system.
According to a press statement made available to LEADERSHIP by the deputy director, Public Relations of NIMASA, Isichei Osamgbi, the 24-hour operation was achieved by extending work hours for some staff of the Agency in the Shipping Development Department. The Agency’s Offices are also open on weekends in order to accommodate shipping Agents willing to do business.
Shipping agents can therefore access the Agency at these times with their manifests for further necessary action after which a Debit Note will be issued to them not later than 24 hours after submission.
Emphasising the significance of the presidential directive, the director general of the Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside noted that the long dwell time of vessels calling Lagos Ports was stifling trade instead of facilitating it.
He said: “The Executive Order signed by the Acting President for resumption of 24 hour port operations is aimed at improving efficiency and facilitating trade in Lagos Ports. As a responsible Agency, we are committed to implementing this directive and if it means extending work hours or even instituting a shift system, we will”.
The DG stated that the new approach to analysing manifests and issuing Debit Notes will be constantly monitored and evaluated to ensure its effectiveness while automation of the entire process is receiving priority attention.
Already, dwell time of vessels at the ports which were previously attributed to delays in issuing Debit Notes and Sailing Clearance has reduced considerably.