By Stephen Ubanna
For years, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Port of Atwerp, Belgium, had maintained a good working relationship. The Port of Atwerp , according to maritime sources is a 100 % subsidiary of Port of Atwerp Internationa, whicg focuses on strategic growth areas in ports in the Middle East, India, Africa, South East Asia and Brazil.
This because of its strong functional and technical expertise to develop strategic maritime and logistics networks for ports. This is evident going by the transformation of the Port of Atwerp as a World Class port.
It is not surprising why the Management of NPA, and the Port of Antwerp have signed a Memorandum of Understanding ,MoU, towards operational efficiency in line with the desire to deepen the mutual beneficial relationship existing between the two Ports.
The MoU which now exists between the two Port Authorities is expected to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two Organisations.
Soconte Huttin Davies, Executive Director Marine and Operations, a who was said to have represent Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing , at the signing of the MoU documement with the Port Of Atwerp Representatives at the Authority’s Corporate Headquarters , Marina, Lagos , had submitted that the MoU, apart from going to boost the efficiency in the country’s ports through expertise, development and digitalisation,’’it would ensure the simultaneous growth with new skills being acquired and new trends opened at the nation’s seaaports’’.
Going the terms of the greement, it. Insiders informed the Value News that the MoU started running from Wednesday, 27th day of November, 2019 and would terminate I 2024. An elated Davis also disclosed that the deal btween the two ports will also ‘’broaden the technical skills and practical knowledge of the Operational Staff of NPA.
The MoU, according to him covers such areas as development of infrastructure, stimulation of trade growth as well as concretizing the enabling environment for the tenents of Public Private Partnership ,PPP, to thrive amongst the two Ports.
Giving an insight into the five year-old Agreement, the representatives of the Port of Antwerp, noted that they see greater future in the ports under the control and Management of NPA as it makes progress in its concessioned regime. This may have informed the reason for the mutually beneficial MoU.
Annick De Rider, President of the Port of Antwerp, may have been encouraged to drag his Ports Authority to enter into MoU, with NPA, which falls with the Economic Community of West Africa States, ECOWAS, because the economic bloc alone, controls a’’ larger share in the cargo traffic of Port of Antwerp.
‘’It is therefore our ambition to further strengthen our position in West Africa as we aim to pass our know-how and experience to the regional ports’’,De Rider had said.
A elated Port of Atwerp President is optimistic that their mission in Nigeria will create’’ new fruitful contacts, new connections and new business opportunities in order to ensure future growth for years to come”.
Not that the Ports of Antwerp is the second largest Port in Europe that aims for flexibility, response to a rapidly evolving Maritime Market, allowing the Port to continue playing roles in cooperation, adaptability and focusing greatly on digitalization.
In his contribution, the Chairman Board of Directors of the NPA Emmanuel Olajide Adesoye Chairman, Board of directors of NPA, who was present at the closed door meeting, where the Agreement between the two ports Authorities was said to have been signed stated that the industry expectation is that the ‘’two Organisations would leverage on each other’s expertise for growth in trade, which would result in Global Economic Development for the two nations.
Jatto Adams, NPA, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications who could not hide his feelings gave kudos to the Hajia Usman led Management for making the strategic moves to reposition Nigerian ports in order to compete with other ports in Europe, North American and other parts of the world. Adams believes that the Port of Atwerp , will make the needed impact on the Nigerian ports in the next five years
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