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NPA unveils 3 tugboats to boost Dangote Refinery, Lekki Port operations

According to him, this will also help the growing cargo evacuation needs of the Lekki maritime corridor.

L-R: The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko; National President Customs Officers’ Wives Association, Mrs Shakirat Adeniyi; Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola CON; and the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service , Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR; during the Ministerial Commissioning of state-of-the-art Marine Crafts by NPA in Lagos on Thursday.[NAN]

Oyetola said during the inauguration in Lekki on Thursday that the three tugboats were christened MT IRAGBIJI, MT DAURA and MT BAMA.

He said that the tugboats are expected to support port security, patrol, surveillance and deliver efficient pilotage as well as towage services.

According to him, this will also help the growing cargo evacuation needs of the Lekki maritime corridor.

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The minister said: “These investments are a step towards enhancing port efficiency and strengthening Nigeria’s position as a leading maritime nation in the region.

“We recognise the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth and will do all that is required to update the existing facilities to deliver on this.

“By acquiring these modern marine crafts, we are reaffirming our commitment to maximise the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

“We are determined to optimise our competitive edge as a littoral nation and deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of cutting-edge technology and equipment.”

Earlier, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the acquisition would enable the port authority to attain a regional hub status by efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs.

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“The inclusion of the tugboats will also win back transit cargo hitherto lost to maritime neighbours and better position Nigeria to cater to the maritime requirements of its landlocked neighbours.

“NPA has deployed a three-pronged people-driven strategy – Technology, Infrastructure and Equipment such as the state-of-the-art vessels being commissioned,” he said.

Bello-Koko noted that the acquisition of the marine crafts was in part-fulfilment of NPA’s deliverables under the Presidential/Ministerial Performance Bond.

He said that the bond was to optimise Nigeria’s marine and blue economy by providing relevant marine technology and equipment.

According to the NPA boss, the marine crafts will be deployed to serve operations at the Lekki corridor which has become a hub for actualising Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency.

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He explained that the self-sufficiency was in energy, agricultural growth and trade transhipment capacity with the hosting of a 650,000 barrels-per-day Dangote Refinery.

“Dangote refinery is Africa’s largest granulated urea fertiliser complex and Nigeria’s first fully automated Deep Seaport, which can berth Super Post Panamax-sized ships.

“Data from Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals shows that 120 tanker vessels have been handled between January and June 2024 with a projection for 415 between July to December.

“Dangote Fertilisers have handled 17 fertiliser vessels with a projection for 41 in the corresponding period,

“We are by these commissioning and ancillary deployments putting mechanisms in place to cater for continuous increase, going forward,” Bello-Koko said.

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Also speaking, the Comptroller-General, of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adeniyi, said that the Customs had found it comfortable to work with the NPA to develop the export sector, automate its processes, decongest the port and ensure port efficiency.

Adeniyi assured that Customs would do all within its capacity to remain on top of the ease of doing business ranking for the growth of the industry.

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