16 January 2015, Lagos – With the advent of a new year, John Iwori lists the individuals and corporate bodies in the maritime sector that would be the central points of attention.
With declining price of crude oil at the international market, Nigeria is seeking for alternative sources of income to boost its revenue. One of the areas the federal government is looking to boost the economy is the maritime industry. As the present Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar is one of the individuals to watch in the maritime industry. This is not unconnected with the fact that he will be the key driver of how to make the maritime industry an alternative source of income into the central till. Umar is a not a neophyte in government. He was hitherto a member of the National Assembly. The Gombe State politician, who has not hidden his ambition to govern his home state was first elected into the House of Representatives to represent his people before he later moved into the upper chamber.
Though he cannot be described as a maritime expert, those who spoke to THISDAY said the years he has spent so far in the saddle should give him the experience and exposure to deliver on the charge given him on the day he sworn into office. Besides, he has a lot of aides, including three special assistants, as well as the bureaucrats in the ministry to guide him. Away from the maritime sector, a lot is also expected from Umar in the implementation of policies and programmes, particularly in the provision of mass transit buses and rehabilitation of railway lines across the country. The enormous roles and responsibilities placed on Umar shoulders make it imperative for those interested in the maritime industry to watch him closely this New Year. In the same vein, the Ministry of Transport has several parasatals under its supervision. These include: Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
Others are the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), as well as the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, (NIIT) Zaria, Kaduna State. As it is, Umar has the yam and the knife in his hands and those who need either of them or both in 2015 need to watch him closely.
Lagos Ports Complex
The Lagos Ports Complex (LPC), Apapa is unique in so many ways. Besides the fact that it has Apapa Quay, the nation’s premier port, it is also home to other terminals, including ENL and Apapa Container Terminal (ACT), the largest container terminal in Africa. According to the statistics of the Customs High Command, the LPC generates billions of naira as revenue on import duty into the coffers of the federal government annually. Though the day-to-day running of these terminals is no longer in the hands of NPA as a result of the ports reforms programme supervised by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, the federal government remains the landlord.
Against the backdrop of the insecurity posed by the insugents, Boko Haram, LPC remains one of the institutions to watch in 2015. In the same vein, the Port Manager of LPC, Mr. Nasir Mohammed is also one of the individuals to watch this year as he superintends the affairs of the complex in the months ahead. This is so because the onus of managing the huge multibillion naira complex rests on his shoulders. It therefore remains the lot of Mohammed and other security operatives to checkmate the activities of criminals and their likely collaborators in LPC.
The Managing Director of NPA, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi is another key individual to watch in the maritime industry this year. The appointment of Abdullahi as the helmsman of the nation’s gateway over two years ago was not bereft of the drama and intrigues that often characterised high profile appointments. The appointment letter of Abdullahi speaks volumes. A copy of the letter sighted by THISDAY said the new helmsman of NPA would spearhead the internal restructuring of the authority, which was asked to stop the day-to-day running of the nation’s seaports following the port concession programme. The exercise, which was carried out in 2006, gave cargo-handling powers to private investors while the management of the authority remains the landlord.
According to the letter, the appointment of Abdullahi is to allow internal restructuring necessary to reposition the organisation after the concession programme and to allow for the implementation of the master plan to develop Greenfield seaport terminals as well as further expansion of port infrastructure that will support the huge inflow of cargoes into the country.
Not a few port users, particularly importers and licensed customs agents, have lampooned the agreement signed between the concessionaires and the federal government through the management of NPA. They specifically decried a situation where the federal government look the other way while the private terminal operators engage in endless arbitrary increase in their services. They alleged that there are some cases where the concessionaires even charge for services they did not render. This has given credence to the strident clamour for an independent regulator in the maritime industry. It has now become the lot of Abdullahi to ensure the successful implementation of the internal restructuring of the authority stated in his appointment letter besides the establishment of an independent regulator to serve as an arbiter in the nation’s seaports among other roles and responsibilities. Abdullahi had pledged to build on the achievements of the federal government’s concession programme as well as the assurance of carrying along all stakeholders in the maritime sector of the economy, in the discharge of his duties.
Until his appointment as the MD of NPA, Mohammed had occupied several positions in the authority including NPA Representative, London. He is expected to bring his wealth of experience to bear on the discharge of his roles and responsibilities. In the months ahead therefore, the NPA helmsman remains one of the individuals to watch in the maritime sector of the economy this year.
The Director General of NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi is one the individuals to watch in the maritime sector of the economy in 2015. Akpobolokemi and the present management team have to lead the way in the execution of the statutory roles and responsibilities of the agency as enshrined in NIMASA Act 2007. Akpobolokemi, who was until his appointment over four years ago, a lecturer at the Bayelsa State owned Niger Delta University (NDU), Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, must prove beyond all reasonable doubts that President Goodluck Jonathan did not made any mistake in his recent extension of his tenure as the helmsman of Nigeria’s apex maritime regulatory authority.
Having spent four years in office, the days of learning on the job can be said to be over. He must therefore perform creditably. This is the only way he can silence those who have an axe to grind with him on his capacity and competence to occupy the coveted seat as the Director General of NIMASA. Apparently aware of the enormous task ahead of him, Akpobolokemi has reiterated unity of purpose when he took over the reins of administration.
“It is time for us to work together and harness our maritime potentials for the benefit of all Nigerians. Mr. President wants the maritime sector reshaped in order to become the major contributor to the national economy. That is our mandate and we are ready to deliver. My watchwords are discipline, honesty, and hard work”, he said.
He maintained that his emphasis would be in acting in the interest of majority of stakeholders, which he thinks may displease a few people within and outside the agency.
Akpobolokemi, who described himself as “an agent of light” and attributed his appointment to God, called on all hands to be on deck to realise the full potential of the Nigerian maritime sector which is adjudged as the greatest revenue earner after the oil and gas industry. One of the reasons why Akpobolokemi and the agency must be watched closely this year is the fact that there are many issues that will make or mar him in 2015. Besides the disbursement of the long awaited Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF), building of Nigeria’s first Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko, Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State; Technical College, Okoloba; Satellite and Monitoring System; NIMASA Shipyard; Institute of Maritime Studies (IMS), Nigerian Seafarer Development Programme (NSDP); among other strides in his first tenure in office, he needs to step up the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea. He must intensify the collaboration with the Republic of Benin so that the fight against piracy in Nigeria territorial waters, can be sustained this year.
This is a year Akpobolokemi, the three Executive Directors and the Federal Ministry of Transport must be on the same page in the discharge of the agency’s mandate as enshrined in the NIMASA Act 2007. Working at cross purposes and allowing pettiness and ego should not prevail again this year if they are really serious in carrying the Nigeria’s apex regulatory authority to the next level.
Akpobolokemi must do everything to consolidate on the achievements he made in his first tenure. The fresh four years given to him is his last lap. Its looks far but near. He must hit the ground running. The resuscitation of Nigeria national shipping carrier, the Nigerian National Shipping Line Limited (NNSL) should be top on his agenda this year. Will he deliver on this and many more things he promised to achieve or fail? This is why Akpobolokemi remains one of the individuals to watch in 2015.
The name Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS) is not unknown to many in several sectors of the economy. Nevertheless, its foray into the maritime sector of the economy, as well as the oil gas industry stood it out. The company is the concessionaire of Onne, Calabar and Warri ports following the conclusion of the concession programme of the federal government in 2006. Those who have visited Onne Port Complex, Federal Ocean Terminal, and the Federal Light Terminals were convinced that the management of the firm have matched words with action in its drive to ensure the sustainable development of its core area of business. Managing Director of INTELS, Mr. Simone Volpi told THISDAY that it makes sense to use the income in the oil and gas industry to invest heavily in the agricultural sector of the economy for the benefit of Nigeria, nay Nigerians.
Apart from maritime, INTELS has been spearheading efforts to make Onne port a hub for the oil and gas industry. The company strongly believes that firms doing business in the oil and gas industry must concentrate on their core services while outsourcing peripheral activities to it. This is due to the fact that it has state of the art office and residential accommodation facilities besides catering and health services in Onne. This has made it possible for firms to quickly settle down to do the business that brought them to Nigeria in the first place. Till date, only very few companies have been able to attain this feat as many grapple with the challenges common to doing business in Nigeria.
For the past three years, the company has been organising the annual oil and gas forum which has become a rallying point for the key players in the oil and gas industry and beyond. The forum is fully supported by the federal government with the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, Transport, and Petroleum Resources participating actively. The 2015 edition promises to be better with more sponsors, exhibitors, and players participating. For these and many more, INTELS remains one of the firms to watch this year
Slok Shipping Limited
It is rare to find a brand new ship wholly owned by Nigerians in the Nigerian territorial waters and beyond. This is understandable. It does not only take a lot of resources to own a vessel and but much more to maintain it and make it ready to undertake any job anywhere on the globe. The ship owner must not only ensure bunkering but also render his obligations to the crew on board wherever they are. Indeed, the enormous resources involved besides the technicality and complexity of running a shipping firm is not for the lily livered. These are the reasons why most of the vessels owned by Nigerians are either old or used ones popularly called tokunbo.
However, the management of Slok Shipping Limited owned by the former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu changed the story. The firm was top on the list of the firms that have been acquiring brand new vessels in the last five years. It has continued to procure new vessels from Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere. From the way it has been it is executing its acquisition drive, it is like procuring a refurbished vessel is a taboo. The former governor has succeeded in telling whoever that cares to listen that some Nigerians have what it takes to compete with their foreign counterparts in the shipping world. Some of the vessels procured by Slok Shipping include a platform supply vessel (PSV).
The ships were built by NGS Tech Shipyard, Malaysia. Apart from making a loud statement that its entry into the maritime industry about a decade ago was not a fluke, THISDAY checks revealed that Kalu’s decision to place order for eight new vessels at a time was meant to intimidate his competitors and announce his foray into the highly risky but very lucrative shipping sector of the economy with a bang. For its bold initiative and aggressive drive in the shipping sector of the Nigerian economy, among other things, Slok Shipping Limited remains one of the companies to watch this year.
Port Notel Ocean Terminal
Port Notel Ocean Terminal is one of the firms to watch in the maritime sector of the economy in 2015. It is a private initiative project being promoted by a Port Harcourt, Rivers State based firm, Port Notel Limited. The terminal which is located in Ibeno Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State has Mr. Victor Akpanika as its managing director.
The promoters of the project are private investors who are desirous of developing an ocean terminal by avoiding the pitfalls of government associated ventures.
The project involves many private investors within and outside the country. The promoters are partnering other key stakeholders as strategic investors and major off-taker of the services of the project when fully developed.
THISDAY checks revealed that they have gone far in the processes involved. These include sourcing for funds towards preliminary market viability study and environmental impact assessment study (PEIA) and other critical studies on the project estimated to cost about $1,000,000.
It was gathered that a maritime firm based in Europe, Royal Haskoning Group has been commissioned to carry out the market viability studies. It was learnt that the choice of the firm was based on their global network, expertise, and the fact that they were engaged by the World Bank to undertake a comprehensive technical and financial study of Nigerian port sector. While Fugro Nigeria Limited and AvantGuard Security Solutions, United Kingdom have also contacted to handle, the PEIA and ports security studies respectively.
Among other things, these reports are the basic requirement by the Federal Ministry of Transport to grant approval for a deep seaport operating license.
On how far the promoters have gone in their quest to execute the project, Akpanika had said: “We have been issued with a no objection letter by NPA to carry out these studies and detailed technical feasibility studies. We have been trying to network through local and international donor agencies to access grants, and financial aids assistance to fund the studies”.
He disclosed that the firm will take a final investment decision (FID) this year besides the involvement of more terminal operators, just as more investors, especially shipping firms have indicated interest to come on board.
As a private initiative coming at a time the federal government has been clamouring for the development of Greenfields following the congestion and decay in the infrastructural facilities in the existing ports situated in Lagos, Calabar, Koko, Sapele, Port Harcourt, and Warri, the promoters of the project, Port Notel Limited is one of the organisations to watch this year.
Peacegate Group is another company to watch in 2015. Besides the procurement of vessels and training of personnel to crew them, the company which has made a lot of contributions in several sectors of the Nigerian economy has taken delivery of not less than 10 vessels in the last five years. The vessels are in different shapes and sizes in line with the needs of the company’s growing clients. The Peacegate Group, which has Ayorinde Adedoyin as the managing director/CEO, is one of the companies to watch in the maritime industry this year. The firm is also into maritime logistics, engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of facilities. It is also into the provision of offshore support vessels (OSV), as well as oil and gas.
Apart from fire fighting support, search and rescue operations (SAR), it is also involved in maritime security support and vessel brokerage. Besides ship management, mobile offshore maritime system (MOMS), and maritime transportation, its flagship, Peacegate Oil and Gas Limited incorporated as a service provider in the oil and gas industry assists private firms and governments faced with unconventional processes in the maritime environment which has continued to develop as one of the major obstacles in achieving corporate production increase expectations.
Inde Dikko Abdullahi
The Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Inde Dikko Abdullahi is one of the individuals to watch in 2015. Though there have been attempts to remove the Katsina State born Customs Chief from office, the fact is that Abdullahi still remains on his coveted seat carrying out his statutory roles and responsibilities to the applause of many men and officers. Several personnel are happy that unlike in the past when officers on transfer are not paid or wait endlessly for their allowances, Abdullahi has not only increased those allowances, but also ensures that they are paid well ahead of the affected officers’ movement to their new stations.
THISDAY checks revealed that this is one of the reasons why, in spite of the efforts to remove Abdullahi from office, he remains very popular in NCS. Those who spoke to THISDAY maintained that his tenure has witnessed an unprecedented improvement in NCS personnel welfare and remunerations. They contended that Abdullahi has endeared himself to men and officers of the service by providing vehicles and decent accommodation of various categories for them. Some officers and men who have not dreamt of having a car of their own or a roof over their heads are now proud owners of decent accommodation in Abuja and elsewhere. It is on record that in 2011, Abdullahi did not only meet the revenue target given to him by the federal government but also surpassed it with a wide margin.
He therefore remains one of the individuals to watch this year, as those who want him removed from office have not relented in their mission. The Deputy Comptroller Generals of Customs (DCGs), Assistant Comptroller Generals (ACGs) and Customs Area Controllers (CACs), especially those in command regarded as ‘juicy’ in NCS circle will also remain in the spotlight since a change in Abdullahi’s status will also affect them directly or indirectly. This is because as a paramilitary organisation, a change in its leadership also affects the top echelon of the service depending on who emerges as a successor to Abdullahi. More so, with the recent handover of the scanning machines under the destination inspection (DI) scheme to NCS, after the termination of the contract of the service providers signed with the federal government, Abdullahi need to do everything possible to douse the fears in certain quarters that NCS will not meet up in the new cargo clearance regime in the nation’s seaports, airports and international borders.
The Rector of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recognised maritime academy in Nigeria, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Joshua Okpo is among those to watch in 2015. Okpo, who is a director in the Federal Ministry of Transport, will be under watch as he discharges the duties of his office. The federal government has already made its intention known on the transformation of the academy into a degree awarding institution. Whether this becomes a reality or not depends on Okpo’s actions and inactions in the months ahead.
The way and manner he discharges his mandate as the helmsman of Nigeria’s oldest maritime training institution will go a long way to determine his place in history. It is only by so doing that he can live up to the expectations of those who believe he has what it takes to deliver on his assignment as the Rector of MAN. The present management of the academy has stepped up efforts to introduce an initiative to give cadets of MAN sea time experience with a university in Istanbul, Turkey. There are also plans to get a training ship for the academy. For this and many other reasons, Okpo remains one of the individuals to watch in the maritime sector of the Nigerian economy in 2015.
Senate and House Committees on Marine Transport
There are several committees in the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly. Nevertheless, the Senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Marine Transport stand out as the ones which actions or inactions have the greatest impacts on the maritime sector of the Nigerian economy.
While the Senate Committee on Marine Transport has Senator Zainab Kure as the chairman, the House Committee on Marine Transport has Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as its Chairman. As far as the maritime industry is concerned, these two committees remain one of the institutions to watch in 2015.
These committees cannot be ignored in the scheme of things in the maritime sector of the economy as their oversight functions can go a long way to affect positively or negatively the parasatals under their jurisdictions. The helmsmen of the parasatals are not only summoned to the National Assembly but also questioned on several issues, particularly on the discharge of their statutory roles and responsibilities. When and how they submit their annual budgets and expenditures had often become a subject of legislative scrutiny. They are often grilled for not submitting their budgets on time. Again, they were also grilled many times for their revenues and expenditures.
Those who choose to ignore these committees and the chairmen do so at their own peril as they can mess up any helmsman who did not know his or her onions. This explained why some industry players told THISDAY that those interested in the maritime industry this year must watch the activities of these committees closely. Though some stakeholders have queried the way and manner the committees carry out their oversight functions, especially in the late approval of parasatals budgets, they agreed that heads of government agencies now know that they must prepare themselves thoroughly before facing the committees.
Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa is one of the individuals to watch in the maritime sector of the economy this year. She is a trained librarian who ventured into the maritime industry during her hey days in the Federal Ministry of Transport as a director. Going by her level of knowledge of the maritime industry, it is an indubitable fact that she made a success of her foray into the shipping sector. Her retirement from service over five years ago has not diminished her love for the sector. Her zeal to get things done in the way they ought to be done is legendary. Till date her brief but spectacular tenure in the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) remains a record. It is yet to be surpassed, as the workers of the authority still talk about her achievements with nostalgia.
This is understandable. Ezenwa was on a rescue mission to NIWA. She was given a mandate to recue NIWA from total collapse by the then Minister of Transport, Alhaji Isa Ibrahim Bio. Bio was pleased with her performance. This was the primary reason her tenure was extended. But for the forces at play within and outside the corridors of power, she would have been given a substantive appointment. Since her removal and retirement from service, Ezenwa has never looked back. She has proved that though she has retired from service but not yet tired to deliver.
Those who want to make a success of their assignment in the maritime industry cannot afford to ignore Ezenwa as she has what it takes to turn things around. Her dedication to duty, vast knowledge of her subject matter and experience is discernable in the way and manner she carries out her roles and responsibilities. Those who have had dealings with her before and after her exit from active service will attest to this.
Having succeeded in bringing maritime arbitration as a means of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the consciousness of key players in the maritime industry, the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN), which presently has Dr. Omogbai Omo-Eboh as its President remains one of the institutions to watch this year. Since its establishment, its leadership has not failed to use every forum to drum home the benefits of embracing ADR at home rather than doing so overseas. This constitutes a very drain on Nigeria’s resources.
The association has step up her campaigns on ADR and the consciousness and awareness is now catching up with stakeholders in the shipping sector of the Nigerian economy. There is, however, a contention that if ADR is to take root in the shipping sector, more efforts should be made to shift the campaign from the realm of dreams into reality in 2015. Many stakeholders are looking up to the era when Nigeria will become the venue for arbitration and ADR instead of elsewhere.
The present leadership of MAAN has to fast-track the process if it is ready to sustain the momentum already started by its pioneer President, Mrs. Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour. This is due to the fact that arbitration is the traditional means of resolving disputes and Nigeria needs to develop maritime arbitration if she desires to attain international recognition and the status of as a serious maritime nation.
The association has a duty to chart a directional change from litigation to arbitration and ADR in resolving disputes in the Nigerian maritime industry.
Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, is body of made up of women who are involved in the shipping sector of the economy. The body which is an affiliate of WISTA, International has a goal to empower women to take their rightful place in the scheme of things in the shipping sector of the economy.
The Nigerian chapter of the body which comprises women of timber and calibre in shipping has not let anyone in doubt that it has what it takes to attain its set goals and objectives. They have continued to partner other critical stakeholders for support and co-operation so that women in shipping business can take rightful place through collaboration that can promote gender equality in the maritime sector of the economy.
Already, the body, which recently had a smooth change of government, has stressed the need for support so that it can attain its goals in the months ahead. At the award and investiture of the new executives of WISTA, Nigeria, the President, Mrs. Jean Chiazor-Anishere said she would ensure that she and her team work hard to key into the vision and objectives of the association. She applauded the new team for the strides the association has made so far.
Citing the association’s fishing boats project for women in the community, she noted that WISTA-Nigeria is determined to contribute to the total growth of maritime industry to ensure higher participation of women in shipping sector.
WISTA, Nigeria is a non-profit association and an umbrella organisation of women engaged in shipping and trade-related businesses throughout the world. The membership of the association include women who are top and middle-level administrators, service providers in the maritime sector of the economy, shipbrokers, freight forwarders, chandlers, charterers, and port operators among others.
Founder of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Grace Obiozor revealed that the association create business contacts and organise programmes aimed at protecting women in maritime industry to become economically empowered and self-reliance.
She urged the new president of WISTA and other members of the executives not to dash the expectations of women in the way and manner they discharge their duties. Will Chiazor-Anishere and other members of WISTA, Nigeria live up to expectations or do otherwise? Will the WISTA, Nigeria executives deliver on their campaign promises? Will they leave WISTA, Nigeria better than the way they met it? The answers to these and many more questions will put WISTA, Nigeria on the spot. Therefore, it remains one of the organisations to watch in the maritime sector of the Nigerian economy this year.
National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Olayiwola Shittu remains one of the individuals to watch in the Nigerian maritime sector of the economy in 2015.
As the man at the helm of affairs of an association which serves as the umbrella body of licensed customs agents across the country, Shittu is an indisputable veritable voice in the policies and programmes earmarked to shape the maritime industry, particularly in the nation’s seaports situated in Onne, Warri, Lagos, Koko, Sapele, Calabar and Port Harcourt.
Those conversant with the key issues that shape and sharpen the sector regarded as the second largest contributor to the central till after the oil and gas industry opined that any government official or agency who marshal out their set goals and objectives without a consideration for Shittu and members of his association may be embarking on a wild goose chase. The ANLCA boss has what it takes to oppose any policy or programme that is inimical to the interest of licensed customs agents across the country. Described as a thorough bred professional who knows his onions in the complex intricacies involved in the clearance of cargoes in the nation’s seaports, Shittu has had cause to mobilise his members to press home his demands that the right thing should not only be done in the ports but also seen to be done by all stakeholders.
As a member of several committees set up by the federal government, he has made invaluable contributions and inputs to the myriads of problems plaguing Nigeria, particularly in the maritime sector of the economy.
Shittu, who is also the Managing Director of Skellas Nigeria Limited with offices in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has not failed to let anyone know where he and his association stand on any issue in the nation’s seaports, airports and international borders. In his quest to ensure that the right thing is done, Shittu has not left anyone in doubt that his leadership has something tangible to offer in the federal government campaign that it is no longer “business as usual” in the enthronement of efficient service delivery in the nation’s seaports. This is one of the reasons why Shittu is one of the individuals to watch in the maritime industry this year.
APM Apapa Terminals Limited
Some private terminal operators came up to the limelight due to the economic reforms programmes initiated by the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006. The exercise, divested the management of NPA from the day-to-day running of the nation’s seaports with the private terminal operators taking charge of their respective terminals. Since then, port users have seen the serious and unserious terminal operators. They have seen those that are still relying on the obsolete and dilapidated cargo handling equipment they inherited from NPA. They have seen the ones that are very adept in handling unforeseen situations, including accidents.
They have seen the ones that are called “death terminal” because of the series of deaths that have been recorded in their ports in the course of operations since they started. In all these, APM Terminals Apapa Limited, which is a subsidiary of the Danish logistics giant, AP Moller, has distinguished itself as a well-funded and serious minded terminal operator. The firm, which took over the day-to-day running of one of the largest container terminals in the West Africa sub-region situated at LPC, Apapa due to the concessioning of the ports has not looked back since then. The management of the firm said it has invested over $3 billion since it started operations. In order to enhance its operations, the firm has a state of the art office complex situated outside the port. Apart from its accessibility, the imposing multi storey building called Polysonic Mall has every modern equipment found elsewhere in the developed world with e-payment taking the centre stage. The facilities in the building ensure that consignees and licensed customs agents make payments for the clearing of their consignments with ease. However, the firm was compelled to relocate the office by the federal government following series of complaints by stakeholders, particularly consignees and freight forwarders. At present, no fewer than 1000 Nigerians have been employed by the firm, just as it handles over 65 per cent of containerized imports into Nigeria. It has also invested enormously in cargo handling equipment. It imported four reconditioned Panamax gantry cranes with the reach of 13 containers and a lifting capacity of 50 tons each. The equipment cost over $10 million.
As a further mark of its seriousness, APM Terminals Apapa Limited which has the former Head of the Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan as its chairman, remains the only terminal that was formally inaugurated by the late former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. That was on June 19, 2008. It also embarked on training, re-training of its workers in Nigeria and overseas. APM Terminals Apapa Limited is therefore one of the companies to watch in the maritime industry in 2015.
Dockworkers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) remain one those to watch in 2015 as their actions or inactions may make or mar any government policy or programme in the nation’s seaports situated in Lagos, Warri, Onne, Sapele, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Koko.
Whether it is on condition of service or quelling protests by aggrieved workers in the maritime industry, MWUN is a factor in industrial harmony in the Nigerian ports, especially in the post-concession era. In maritime circles, MWUN rings a bell.
This partly explains why those who are experienced and exposed in the maritime sector of the Nigerian economy always take MWUN into consideration in their policy formulation and execution. The union remains one of those to watch in the maritime sector of the economy in 2015.
– This Day