The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen collaboration with Port of Antwerp (PoA) to enhance port activities in Nigeria in a report by the Guardian Nigeria.
The Chairman Board of Director, NPA, Emmanuel Adesoye, revealed this at a Seminar by Port of Antwerp (PoA) in collaboration with NPA held in Lagos yesterday.
According to him, NPA will seek collaboration to enhance its capacity to reaching the desired goal.
“The Nigerian Ports Authority will also ensure that the collaboration with the ports of Antwerp is sustained, particularly in the area of strengthening the exchange and development of best practices in port operations, customs, training, safety and security.
“The commercial goals of both envisage in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), intend to promote the development and improvement of global waterborne transport infrastructure to enhance the economic, environmental and social benefits of the two countries.
“The highpoint of the third Trade Mission was the signing of the MoU between the Nigerian Ports Authority and Ports of Antwerp International on Wednesday Nov. 27, as the vehicle for collaboration,” Adesoye said.
Also speaking, the Ambassador to Belgium, Daniel Dargent, said that the Port of Antwerp (PoA) is a key player in Belgium adding that the PoA is the second largest Port in Europe and ranked 12th largest worldwide.
” The PoA has a longstanding relation with Africa and is increasing its presence on this continent. The mission of this week and the seminar of today are the perfect example of this new developments.
“It is a truism to mention that Nigeria has to face important challenges: security, infrastructures, energy supply are some of them. Oil industry knows difficult times as the world market prices have drastically dropped in the last years even though a recovery is in view.
“But this is, I think, a too negative approach of Nigeria. There are also true entrepreneurs who really want to go forward and develop new projects.
” The private sector in Nigeria is and will be more and more in the future the key actor in term of development. Lagos State especially, by itself only, is known to be the 6th economy in Africa; let me mention only the Lekki Free Trade Zone,” Dargent said.
He said that Belgian companies are ready to contribute to this development adding that their representatives who came from Belgium looking for new contacts and trade partners were ready to accompany this development.
In her remarks, the President, PoA, Mrs Annick De Ridder, said that one third of the volume between West Africa and Europe come through the Port of Antwerp.
“We handled 17 million tones of cargo through Antwerp yearly to West Africa Region while 6 million of the volume is received by Nigeria.
“The fact that we are here shows that we strongly believed in the potential of West Africa as well as Lagos and Nigeria, so we think we can strengthen the ties between the two regions and is also a prove that all our major shipping and lines that are active in Antwerp, like Grilmadi Mask and others have shipping service into West Africa.
” We’re the most important petrochemical cluster in the world, we are the second biggest port of Europe as a port, both maritime logistic and industrial of our port is very strong. So we are very complete as a port,” De Ridder said.
She, however, said that PoA had an international Empire, which have a Training Center, that could help African shipping environment to acquire more knowledge in shipping operations.
In her address, the Managing Director, NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, said that
the Trade Mission had provide a platform for the Antwerp and NPA to enhance collaboration for the mutual benefit of our countries.
“The Mandate of Nigeria government as outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is to develop and sustain non-oil-based revenue generation for the country with the maritime sector being a major area for attention.
” President Muhammadu Buhari is also very passionate about the development of the nation’s economy through agriculture, and the NPA is committed to supporting the initiative and providing the nation with the appropriate platform and enabling environment for the exportation of Nigerian products.
“We are determined to make our Ports customer friendly by providing efficient service and offering best practices.”