SIFAX Group urges NPA to dredge Lagos harbour channel as NPA MD pledges support

L-R: John Jenkins, Managing Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited; Abayomi Obadare, General Manager, Billing, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited; Adekunle Oyinloye, Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group; Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group and Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority during the NPA MD’s tour of all terminals in Lagos to assess the impact of the COVID-19 lock down on port operations.

SIFAX Group says it will require the assistance of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in conjunction with the Lagos Channel Management in dredging the Lagos harbour channel to allow for barges and even smaller ships to berth at Terminal C, Tin Can Island Port, operated by its flagship company, Ports & Cargo Handling Company Limited.

Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group stated this when the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman visited the terminal in Lagos during the week to assess the some of the challenges being face by terminal operators in the port amid lockdown in Lagos as a result of COVID-19. 

Afolabi told the NPA managing director of SIFAX Group’s plan to expand its operations especially with the acquisition of new facility that will serve as an off dock that would further help in decongesting the ports. 

“I want to inform you that we have acquired a new property that will be used as an off dock and we will require the assistance of the NPA in conjunction with the Lagos Channel Management in dredging the waters to allow for barges and even smaller ships to berth at this terminal,” said Afolabi.

While welcoming Usman, Mr. Adekunle Oyinloye, Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group, noted that the operations at the terminal had faced a lot of daunting challenges since the lockdown.

“We have encountered a lot of challenges including the harassment and detention of our staff by security agencies despite presenting their ID cards and the cover letter from NPA and bank closure at the ports, among others. We will need your assistance to address these obstacles to our operations.  Also, in order to avoid congestion at the ports, we have stemmed some of our containers to our off dock facilities,” said Oyinloye.

Mr. John Jenkins, Managing Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, enjoined NPA to sensitize security agencies on port operations, prevail on them to allow more trucks from outside Lagos access the ports and make public transport available for port workers.

Responding, Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, said that some of the challenges would be resolved as she hinted that the government was committed to having smooth operations at the port during this period in other to keep the economy running.

“I want to assure you that we will continue to support the operations of SIFAX Group and other port operators around the country. Any assistance required from the agency should be put into writing and forwarded to my office, this is because I read all letters addressed to me and I will make sure that proper action is taken on the requests”, said Usman who was accompanied on the trip by the NPA Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Mr. Onari Brown and the Tin Can Island Port Manager, Alhaji Alli Umar.

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