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Monday, May 20, 2024

China Pledges Support For Nigeria’s Inland Waterways Transport


  1. China Pledges Support For Nigeria’s Inland Waterways Transport

The People’s Republic of China has pledged to support the Federal Government of Nigeria to drive the inland waterways transport to decongest the port across the country.

The Consul General of China, Ms Yan Yuqing, made the disclosure during the Breakfast Meeting on Security and New Technologies for Inland Waterways Transportation, organised by the Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd., in Lagos on Thursday.

Yuqing said Nigeria had several significant rivers, such as the Niger River, the Osun River, and the Cross River, among others, holding immense potential for inland waterway transportation development.

She said various productive sectors of the Chinese economy currently drive the inland waterways transportation and China is ready to partner with the present administration in Nigeria to decongest the port across the country

According to her, the use of the Chinese inland waterways by the productive sector had led to low carbonisation of the atmosphere while there are lots of interplay between manufacturing and waterways transport.

She explained that the near perfect waterways transport system was adopted by China, adding that the Chinese government had completed the construction of 16 new automatic container terminals with more than 10 currently being constructed.

Yuging said that China had established transportation links with more than 100 countries and regions in the world.

She said that the size of the fleet owned by China’s shipping companies had reached 249.2 million gross tons, making China the world’s largest ship owning nation in terms of gross tonnage.

“Waterway freight accounts for China is about 17 per cent of the national freight volume, while its cargo turnover accounts for about 54 per cent of the total turnover in the transportation system.

“The new quality productive forces are an important driving force for the development of waterway transportation.

“The new quality productivity forces are innovation-led, oppose damage to the ecological environment, promoting the low-carbonisation of economic and social development, and the collaborative development of high-quality economic development and high-level protection of the environment.

“The new quality productive forces introduce digitalisation and intelligence into China’s inland waterway and maritime transport systems, and at the same time call for the protection of the oceans while exploiting their resources, so as to achieve sustainable development for all mankind.

“China has constructed 16 Automated Container Terminals, with more than 10 currently under construction, both ranking first in the world. At present, the mileage covered by the national ENC (Electronic Navigational Charts) is more than 5700 kilometers.

“China adheres to the sustainable use of fishery resources, continue the fishing moratorium arrangements and take resolute countermeasures against illegal fishing.

“China has also passed laws to protect the oceans. Last october, Chinese lawmakers voted to adopt a revised Marine Environment Protection Law and have taken effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

“The newly revised law highlights prioritising protection and tackling problems at their source, as well as coordinating activities on land and at sea to protect the ocean environment.

“The revised law underscores the protection of marine biodiversity, stresses strict control over pollution, and requires that measures be taken to prevent solid waste from entering the sea,”Yuging said.

In his keynote address, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, commended the organisers for highlighting the crucial intersection of security and new technologies in inland waterways. transportation as a point of discussion.

Oyetola, who was represented by Mrs Selly Ekanem, Deputy Director Cabotage of the Ministry, said the National Inland Waterways Authority was created with the mandate to manage Nigeria’s vast inland waterway resources.

He said that NIWA was also established to improve and develop the Inland Waterways Navigation system for the country, had over the years, been plagued with some challenges which have hindered her development such as:

“Non-channelisation and dredging of navigable rivers, inadequate construction and rehabilitation of river ports, limited water transport infrastructures. (comfortable boats, jettics and buoys), low investment.

“Other challenges faced by NIWA include lack of strict implementation of regulations,
lack of coordination between national and sub-regional institutions as well as safety and security concerns along the navigable waterways.

“As you are aware, Inland waterways transportation system is an essential element of integrated transport systems, being one of the oldest means of transporting goods and services from one point to another.

“Nevertheless, the least developed compared to air and road transportation, most especially in Nigeria.

“It is worthy to note that when the Inland waterways transportation system is properly developed, it will be characterised by high transport volume, low energy consumption, and low negative environmental impact,” Oyetola said.

He assured Nigerians of the sustainability, safety and utilisation of o inland waterways for the growth and development, adding that more needs to be done for sustainable growth.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Malam Muhammed Bello-Koko, said the authority was working with Marine police officer in ensuring all the port including get Marine police to reduce miscreant in the port area.

Bello-Koko, who was represented by General Manager, Ports Security; Mr Muhammed Khalil, said under the Bello-Koko administration that they had been able to create Marine Police division in CalabarWarri ports.

He said they they had finished perimeter fancing of the Lagos ports, adding that the authority had started construction of electronic gate at One and Lagos ports to improve call-up system of truck entry into the port.

Bello-koko said that the authority had encouraged the haulage of cargo through the rail and barges, which had helped in decongest the port and reducing the time of doing business at the port.

The Managing Director, Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Alhaji Munirudeen Oyebanji, who was represented by the Assistant Manager, Environment and Port Services of NIWA, Hajia Aisha Eri, said there had been reduction in boat mishap across the country due to constant enlightenment of boat users.

Oyebanji said that they had 21 offices across the country and they engaged water transport passengers on the importance of safety monthly in ensuring that they follow the safety procedures in accordance with the international best practices.

“Doing our monitoring, we discovered that many passenger boarded without putting down their detains of the manifest despite the enlightenment.

“Sometime some captain proved strong head by not warring life jacket although about 80 per cent of the local captain usually survive boat mishap but we sanction them when they operate without life jacket.

“Although water accident can not be totally avoided but can be properly managed with a lot of awareness constant enlightenment.

“NIWA is working towards ensuring that stakeholders in water transport get more finance from the disbursement of the Carbotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), to enable them get standard equipment for the water transportation as well as barges for export produce into ports.

“Although some of the NIWA activities were neglected but the new administration is working round the clock in ensuring better usage of the inland services to reduce traffic of the road.

“In before 2025, we will start seeing huge development on inland operations because we are working hard in ensuring that the local community operators get funding,” Oyebanji said.

He said that NIWA had collaborated with the Nigerian Navy in ensuring no water transport activities in the night, adding that most of the boat mishaps usually occurred in the night.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Maritime Command, Mr Rhoda Olofu, who was represented by Commissioner of Police (CP), Ishola Olanrewaju, said they usually apprehend a lot of stole away, and other related crime within the port.

Olofu said the port crime was reducing due to the synergy among them and other security agencies such as the Nigerian Navy and other sister agencies, adding that their duties do not extend to the high sea.

The Managing Director, Niger Benue Transport Co Ltd., Mrs Oluseyi Oluyede, who was represented by Mrs Uche Chigbo, said in the past they enjoined exporting goods to Cameroon from Warri

Oluyede said that they worked with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Inland waterways to export agriculture produce to Cameroon, which they conveyed between 18 vessel from Warri to Cameroon peaceful.

She said that the government establishment of cargo haulage for export had made their operation too low.

Oluyede commended government effort on piracy attack on adding that they faced a lot of bunkery and miscreant attach when they diversified to lifting of oil business.

The Convener of the Breakfast Meeting the Chief Executive Officer, Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd., Mrs Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, said they used the annual theme set down by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the World Maritime day to set the agenda and discourse for the year .

Edodo-Emore said that the theme for the World Maritime Day 2024 is “Navigating the Future , Safety First “With a net work of over 10,000km of inland water ways crossing the country.

She said that there was room for the development of inland waterways transportation, adding that benefits of investing in inland waterways transportation was self-evident .

“Development of inland waterways transportation will remove the pressure of transporting bulk cargo by road ,it will develop coastal communities by developing river ports and ultimately reverse the trend of urban migration .

“We acknowledge that Nigeria needs a safe and secure environment to drive investment in inland waterways transportation . Armed robbery at sea and in the inland waterways pose real security challenges in the creeks and coastal communities and, of course, drive investors away .

“Although we are still grappling with maritime security challenges of various dimensions in Nigeria , the world has since moved on with new technologies in the maritime space – such as the development of unmanned or autonomous ships.

” The Internet of things, drones and artificial intelligence to mention a few at this maritime Business Roundtable , we would like explore how to stimulate investment in inland waterways transportation by tackling security and using new technologies to stimulate the development of the sector,”Edodo-Emore said.

She acknowledged that China had the largest inland waterways in the world, adding that the ports had to be efficient in order to deliver on their mandates all over the world.

Credit; Shipping Position.


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