APM Terminals Inland Services has acquired some refrigerated trucks to reduce spoilage of about 15 million tons of Nigerian perishable goods coming to Lagos for domestic consumption and export.
The company said that the move was to reduce post-harvest losses and extend the shelf life of fresh produce to local consumption and export.
The terminal operator listed the perishable goods as including onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, okra, ginger and carrots.
It noted that the tonnage of goods was lost annually due to poor logistics infrastructure and high transportation costs through spoilage and product damage.
The companies and Naija Pride with the assistance of international development groups are working to provide modern cold chain transportation alternatives for farmers in the agricultural centers of northern Nigeria to bring fresh produce to market centers in Lagos.
According to the Managing Director of APMT, Martin Jacob, the new investment in cold chain infrastructure will clearly be an important growth driver for the Nigerian economy.
He noted that the service and expertise would also open new international market opportunities through Nigerian ports.
He said: “As much as half of Nigeria’s domestic tomato crop of 1.8 million metric tons does not get to market due to spoilage or damage during transportation while packed in traditional woven raffia baskets and moved by conventional trucking.
“On December 1, the first trial shipments of 18.6 metric tons of fresh tomatoes, packed into 933 crates each containing 20 kilogrames, were loaded into a refrigerated container for the 1,045 kilometres (650 mile) trip from Dutsen Wai, in Nigeria’s Kaduna State to Lagos.”
Jacobs said that in the controlled reefer environment, heat spoilage, as well as bruising damage from cargo shifting during transport, was eliminated and the entire truckload arrived intact and ready for sale or further transport.
NPA moves against poor container stacking
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that shipping companies that litter the port roads with empty containers under the guise of holding bay will be sanctioned.
It said that severe sanction would be meted out to erring organisations, which refuses to obey rules guiding the directives after a one week window.
In a statement, the authority’s General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Abdullahi Goje, quoted the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, as saying during a quarterly stakeholders meeting in Lagos, that the management had set up a committee to liaise with representatives of terminal operators to review existing concession agreement within the shortest possible time.
She urged the stakeholders to remit outstanding payments and dues meant for NPA as quickly as possible.
Usman said that NPA would provide an enabling environment for efficient port services in view of the vital role the maritime sub sector plays.
The managing director said that machinery had been put in place to ensure a level playing field for operators doing business in the sector.
NIMASA’s pledge to stop piracy threatened
The current surge in piracy has raised doubt over Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)’s ability to end piracy on Nigerian waters as promised by June 2018. BAYO AKOMOLAFE reports
Despite the Federal Government’s approval of $186 million to secure Nigerian waterways and ports, pirates are still operating in and off the coast of Nigeria targeting foreign shipping crews for ransom.
The fund is meant for the acquisition of new military aircraft, patrol boats and armoured personnel carriers that will be deployed for anti-piracy operations.
With the equipment, the NIMASA last June boasted that piracy and sea robbery would be reduced to zero by June 2018.
Director General, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said that within one year, the country’s waters would be secured from sea robbers.
He noted: “We have before now been facing challenges of piracy, sea robbery within our maritime domain and we have given our words to Nigeria that by next year June 2018, they should hold us responsible for this sea robbery in our maritime domain.
“From next year June, we will move from wherever we are to zero per cent non-piracy on our waterways. That is the first commitment to Nigerian people and we are working day and night everyday in putting things right every day.”
However, four months to the deadline, there is no sign that the agency would be able to keep to this promise as menace of piracy is on the increase.
For instance, in the last seven months, there has been incessant attacks by robbers on Nigeria waters.
Catalogue of attacks
Last July, IMB said that pirates kidnapped five crew members from a cargo ship, a Panama-flagged, MV Oya 1, off the coast of Nigeria, when a group of armed pirates boarded a general cargo ship underway around 15nautical miles South West of Bonny Island.
Also in August, two personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), Nigeria Police Force and a civilian were ambushed and killed by suspected sea pirates along the Okoron creek in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
Also, last September, sea pirates kidnapped five people from a ship near Parrot Island, south of the Cross River state capital, Calabar.
Within the same period, security operatives on escort mission were attacked by sea pirates along the Ekebiri waterways in Bayelsa State.
Also in October, a container ship, Demeter, was attacked by pirates at south of Port Harcourt while en route Malabo Equatorial Guinea to Monrovia.
A bulk carrier, Venus Bay, was also attacked and boarded by armed pirates last November at Bight of Bon
Similarly, in December, IMB report said that 10 crew were kidnapped from a bulk carrier off the coast of Niger Delta.
The trend continued in January 2018, when 10 crew were kidnapped on board MT Barrett but were released after ransom was paid.
Also, Greek bulk carrier, Skylight, was attacked by pirates in Bight of Biafra, south of Brass, with10 crew. The latest attack was from a Greek bulk carrier, Marine Express, with 22 Indian crew on board.
Already, the agency’s multi-million dollar world-class strategic satellite surveillance system has been out of operation for over one year.
The equipment has the capacity of detecting movements and activities of ships, boats and other crafts operating within the nation’s maritime domain with a reconnaissance back up of a functional helicopter for patrol, pursuit and interdiction.
Besides, the anti-piracy bill before the national assembly has not been passed into law. The bill is aimed at criminalising piracy and all maritime crimes in the country’s maritime domain with attendant punishment enshrined in the Nigerian legal framework.
It would be recalled that in 2017, IMB said that a total of 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were recorded.
It noted that 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked.
Worried by the trend, Peterside said that Nigeria had installed satellite surveillance systems, coastal radar systems, and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) among others to monitor the coastal waters.
The director general noted that the implementation of an integrated national surveillance and waterways protection solution with command and control infrastructure in the agency was part of the government’s deep blue contract to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Government should put technology in place to fully tackle the menace of pirates on Nigerian waters, which has remained a hot spot.
‘Criminal activities, poor infrastructure impede blue economy’
Maritime insecurity, criminal activities at sea, climate vulnerability and poor infrastructure are impeding the development of Nigerian blue economy.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside dropped the hint at the seventh strategic admiralty law seminar for judges jointly organised by the agency and Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday.
He stressed the need for an integrated approach and multi sector and government partnership towards the implementation of a road map within the national and international framework.
The director general noted that the seminar was initiated by NIMASA for Judges of the Federal High Court bearing in mind the exclusive jurisdiction of the court over admiralty matters.
Peterside noted that NIMASA was committed to ensuring safe and secure shipping, enforcing marine pollution prevention and control laws, the regulation of maritime labour and the promotion of indigenous capacity in both local and International shipping.
The director general in his welcome address explained that the agency had in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, has facilitated the draft of an anti piracy bill which had been forwarded to the National Assembly for necessary legislative action. He explained that when the draft bill passed into law, it would provide a robust and detailed framework to criminalise and punish piracy and other unlawful acts in the Nigerian waters while giving further expression to the relevant provisions of the international treaties on maritime security to which Nigeria is a party.
He said: “We have also reviewed our existing partnerships with the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force to boost our enforcement capability and ensure compliance with extant maritime laws thereby enhancing the jurisdiction of the courts.”
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