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FG harps on automation for elimination of illegal activities at ports

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Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt

The Federal Government has emphasized the need for port activities to be automated using modern technology to reduce human contact and eliminate illegal activities at the ports.
Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), Pius Akutah stated this during his two-day working visit to the Eastern Ports in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Mr. Akutah emphasized that automation of Port activities will make for efficiency and reduce time wastage.
“We are preaching the message for Port automation. So when we automate our systems, I believe that mostly human contacts will be reduced. We’re not going to drive anybody out of the Port but we’ll automate the system to reduce physical contact and activities of wharf rats will die away naturally.
“Automation will make import and export activities to flow freely. Automation is key to our reform in the ports sector. If you globally and see what’s happening in other ports, the level of automation is high and we want to see that happening in our ports and make it competitive not only in Africa but globally”.
The NSC Boss also promised to work with critical stakeholders in the ports sector to actualise the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the sector.
Speaking at a stockholders engagement meeting as part of his visit to the Eastern Corridor, Akutah said the the Shipper’s Council wants to see businesses make profit from their investments in the ports sector.
“My administration will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to find ways of improving the sector and President Bola Tinubu having set up the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is aiming at moving from oil dependency to other non-oil sector in the economy and we have a role to play and we are looking at how to facilitate more exports coming out of Nigeria so that we can balance the trade deficit that we have had over the years.
“We as Shippers’ Council, we have a bill which is pending before the National Assembly, the essence of the bill when it’s passed into law is to further empower the Council to become the Port economy regulator that all of us would be proud of, that going forward, we’ll look at ways to regulate the sector in a way that your investment will yield so much profit for you and also grow the economy of this country in a manner that Mr President has set it to be,” he stated.
He said he has carried out reforms aimed at strengthening the sector.
“In the few weeks of our stay, we have carried out some reforms like the review of haulage rate. This was done with the mindset to look at the economic realities in the country today and encourage business so that we don’t have any part of business lagging behind,” Akutah said.
Responding, the Chief Operating Officer of Onne Multipurpose Terminal, OMT, Mr. Jim Stewart said his company is committed to growing Nigeria’s economy, promising to invest more in the sector.
“We are very committed to Nigeria, our investment is high. We will do anything in our power to ensure that our investment is sustainable.
“We will build more in Nigeria, we are passionate about our investment in Nigeria,” he said.

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