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Nigeria, other maritime nations lose $9tr to COVID-19 pandemic

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images 93 2 Nigeria, other maritime nations lose $9tr to COVID-19 pandemic

•FG deploys revenue directors to NPA, Customs, others to boost remittances

Nigeria and other maritime nations around the world have lost about $9 trillion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to COVID-19 pandemic that grounded almost all sectors of the global economy.

At the peak of the pandemic between March and May, so many shipping lines, manufacturers, factories and other businesses were shutdown in order to curb the spread of the infestious disease around the world.

At a recent sensitisation workshop for stakeholders on COVID-19 in Lagos, whose theme is Maritime Industry and Emerging Trends In Global Trade, the Director General of African Centre for Supply Chain, Dr. Obiora Madu, said logistics chains are going through unusual and massive losses from the disruption caused by the pandemic.

His words: “The shutdown of factories and scarcity of manpower to de-stuff cargo, as well as drivers to operate trucks for cargo evacuation, has derailed the trade and smooth functioning of the logistics industry. The estimate is a cumulative loss of $9 trillion to the global GDP and the world trade has already witnessed a decline by about 32 per cent”.

Madu who is also the CEO of Multimix Academy, disclosed that the turnaround time at ports has been extended longer that what it was in pre-COVID-19 scenario, adding that many small companies engaged in the maritime and shipping industry have gone bankrupt due to less demand and the inability to handle the finances of the company during the period of less demand of cargoes and shipping.

“This has majorly impacted the small running businesses and resulted in the shutting down of various companies engaged in this industry. With international transport at the forefront of trade and depend on travel and human interaction, the shipping industry has been impacted materially both directly and indirectly from the outbreak of COVID-19,” he said.

Meanwhile, challenged by dwindling revenue and crippling debt amid the pandemic, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) on Tuesday began a training programme for treasury officers who will be deployed to strategic Federal Government Owned Enterprises (FGOEs) as revenue directors to help swell government’s purse.

The move also tackles the perennial challenge of low remittance which the revenue-generating agencies were accused of.

In the pilot phase, 10 federal agencies have been penciled down where revenue directors from OAGF will be posted to.

The agencies are; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Speaking at the commencement of a three-day training programme, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the government has been compelled to improve revenue generation, especially in the non-oil sector, to fund the nation’s huge expenditure.

Ahmed charged the Directors of Revenue to remain above board as they would be involved in the revenue operations of the FGOEs.

She urged them to learn fast and have an understanding of the business processes and operations of the FGOEs to realise improved transparency and accountability in revenue reporting by the FGOEs.

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Jakys berths 5,000 containers at terminal to ease Apapa gridlock

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images 78 1 Jakys berths 5,000 containers at terminal to ease Apapa gridlock

As part of efforts to reduce Apapa gridlock, Jakys Nigeria Limited has berthed 5,000 containers on a 32,000 square meters throuput terminal at Ijegun area of Satellite Town Lagos. Apart from decongesting the Lagos Ports, importers and exporters can now get their goods faster, instead of having them stay a day more and paying huge demurrage.

Already, the terminal is 90 per cent completed, and has commenced test running about eight months ago. Also, it has gradually started taking away the pressure from the ever busy Lagos port roads and bridges

The terminal is accessed by barges from any of the port terminals, while trucks come in through the roads to evacuate the containers around Satellite Town, Lagos.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Jakys Nigeria Limited, Sir Henry Muogho while conducting officials of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on an inspection of the facility in Lagos last week, said 23,000 square meters of the terminal is already being utilised by barges, transferring loaded containers and taking off empty containers.

He told journalists that the terminal was leased to Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC Shipping) and its logistics arm; Medlog for 5 years.

According to him, the terminal is a throughput terminal dedicated for only MSC containers, adding that no third party containers are allowed to come into the terminal.

He added: “Here is going to be like a throuput jetty, no third party containers are allowed to come in here, as you can see, it is only MSC containers that we have here, this means there is also a call up system for trucks to come in here.

“We have an MoU with the community that made us to build the roads, this was part of the lease agreement with MSC and Medlog.Trucks that are coming here would not be parking on the road, therefore, the nuisance value that we have at other ports and terminals, I don’t want to import them here. I also do not want to put the residents into confusion, that is why we say that there must be a call up system for trucks coming into the terminals, they come in numbers, when they are going back they go in tens.”

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Lekki Deep Sea Port: Work commences on 680m quay wall construction

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images 76 1 Lekki Deep Sea Port: Work commences on 680m quay wall construction

Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (Lekki Port), the developer of the Lekki Deep Sea Port currently under construction at the Lagos Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, has commenced construction of the 680meter long quay wall with the driving of the first pile.

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at the project site, the Chief Executive Officer of Lekki Port, Mr Ruogang Du, said that the commencement of piling of quay wall, which is a major phase of the construction, symbolises a significant step towards the timely delivery of the project.

He said despite the setback occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, both the investors and the contractors have demonstrated admirable commitment to deliver the project as and when due, with construction now at full steam.

“Thank you very much for coming today to witness this solid step in delivering the Lekki Port. As we all know, the epidemic has harmed global economic development and personnel mobility everywhere. However, developers and investors in Lekki Port have not stopped moving forward. We are actively resuming construction and are striving to fulfil our commitment to officially open the port for operations in the first half of 2023. This is a commitment to Lagos and a commitment to Nigeria, and we will do our best to achieve it”, he said.

Also speaking, the Board Chairman, Lekki Port, Mr Biodun Dabiri, lauded the invaluable roles played by the project promoters and stakeholders including Tolaram, China Harbour Engineering Company, Lagos State Government, host communities and the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority.

He explained that the completion of the port would greatly assist in accommodating the rapid expansion of trade currently being witnessed across the West African region. “I want to thank all our shareholders for all the support and energy you have put into this project. I keep saying that it is an iconic project. From all indications, we are building history here. Some of the piles we are doing today will last for more than 100 years. With all the support from everyone that is here, I believe the port will be safely delivered on time”, Dabiri added.

The Chief Technical Officer, Lekki Port, Mr Steven Heukelom, explained that the construction of the quay wall marks a major milestone from a technical perspective, as it is what will ensure that the port is capable of handling multiple container vessels of various sizes at the same time.

Heukelom disclosed that during the Phase 1 of the project, the quay wall will be  680m long and can berth 2 Container Vessels each of up to 18,000 TEUs.

Continuing, he stated “that there will be a total of 857 steel piles on the Combi wall. The Container Terminal will be equipped with 7 Ship to Shore Cranes, 21 RTGs, and other modern rolling terminal equipment. The Combi Wall will have a diameter of 1.15m – 2.3m, a thickness of 23mm and between 28 – 41m deep”.

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Emirates Airlines boosts anti-trafficking initiative

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images 75 1 Emirates Airlines boosts anti-trafficking initiative

Emirates Airlines has lent its support to an anti- human trafficking inIitiative called ‘It’s a Penalty’, by airing the ‘What is Human Trafficking?’ film on all its ‘ice’ in-flight entertainment system throughout October.

Launched in collaboration with actor Liam Neeson, the film creates awareness about human trafficking so that suspected cases can be identified and reported, thereby protecting and preventing those at risk from becoming victims.

The airline said with the airing of the film its ‘ice’ inflight entertainment system on all flights from October, it hopes to shine a light on this global problem and help more people understand what human trafficking is. 

“Nigerian travellers can watch this film while on board. As one of the world’s largest connector of people and places, Emirates is committed to play its part to help stem this crime against humanity.

“Human trafficking involves the movement of persons within a country or across borders into conditions of exploitation against their will by means of force, threats, abduction, or deception. In 2017, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated that there were 24.9 million people trafficked globally (equivalent to the population of Australia), of which 75per cent are women and children.

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