Shipping body urges stakeholders to patronise digital technology

The Director-General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Obiageli Obi, has urged stakeholders to ensure they operate more on digital technology to achieve the mandate of Ease of Doing Business.
Obi made the plea during a two-day training organised for newly-employed officers of the various maritime agencies with the theme “ABC of Shipping,” on Friday, in Lagos.
In his words, “A lot of the trainees are young people and we are telling them to challenge the status quo. Right now, digital technology is the way out and we are hoping this younger generation will make use of the technology to improve upon port operations.
“If they engage in the digital operations, it will have multiplier effects on the job and will enable government to achieve the aim of ease of doing business at ports,” she said.
Obi said tthat the “ABC of Shipping” was a fundamental course that taught new employees the basic principles of maritime operations.
The NSC boss said that the chamber also re-trained old officers by exposing them to what was in trend.
One of the resource persons, a retired captain, George Alily, gave a lecture on the “Nigerian Maritime Security Space.”
Alily said government needed to reduce maritime law enforcement agencies to effectively tackle the challenges militating against the maritime environment.
He however commended the government agencies monitoring the maritime environment in the country.
He pleaded with government to establish a special fund to support the Nigerian Navy to enable the agency strengthen its capabilities.
He said that this would empower the Navy to streamline the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) duties and avoid overlapping of responsibilities.
Alily urged the Federal Government to review the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures for effective prosecution of maritime laws offenders.
“There are aspects that are lacking, because the Navy that does the arrest; cannot prosecute, and the case will be handed over to another agency. We need prosecutorial power.
“When the case is being handed over to another agency, it will lose technical aspects, because some of the judicial administrations are not smooth.
“Government should empower those who arrest and those who police our waters to enable them have prosecutorial power, so that justice can be achieved. All aspects of the economy required funds and what government can do is to make special funds available to police the sea, where we get our commonwealth,” he said
Alily, who is also the Chief Executive, Southgate Maritime Ltd., urged government to streamline the roles of government agencies, in order to stop duplication of duties.
Another lecturer, Eugene Nweke, who delivered a paper titled, “Port/Termnail Operations and Cargo Management,” said that the lecture was meant to enable trainees to acquaint themselves with the workings and understanding of the features of port terminals.
Nweke said that the topic was to help participants in their administrative responsibilities and in discharging their economic regulatory obligations in the maritime industry.
He said for effective port operations, there should be more efficient system in the distribution of containers to outlying regions.
Nweke, who is also the former National President, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) suggested that using of feeder service network for the distribution of containers would reduce operational costs for ship owners.
“A modern container port should have facilities such as trans-shipment operations, transit traffic holding, control tower, shipyard, airports, rail, inland pipeline, transport networking, linkage, anchorage, bunkers and documentation centre.
“Also draught, fire-fighting, fresh water, medical aids centre, pollution, security, radio communications, storage, warehousing, train bays, scanner sites, mobile scanners, weather forecast and so on, must be available,” Nweke said.
He said with the volume of world trade, importation and exportation of goods were vital components of the shipping business.
Nweke, however, said imports and exports stood as middle grounds between buyers and sellers.

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