The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has suggested the deployment of Flat Bottom Vessels (FBVs) in channels with low draught at the nation’s seaports.
The Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Usman, gave the advice while receiving a delegation of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) in Lagos.
A statement issued on Friday by Isa Suwaid, an Assistant General Manager (Corporate and Strategic Communication) in NPA, quoted Usman as saying that the use of FBVs would be the solution for the limitations in some shallow draught channels, especially in Calabar and Warri Ports.
She recalled that a flat bottom 200-metre-long and 61,000MT heavy vessel berthed in Calabar Port last year in spite of the draft limitations of the channel.
Usman said that such a vessel could easily navigate in shallow channels.
She, therefore, appealed to stakeholders in the shipping sub-sector of the maritime sector to devise ways of collaborating with NPA to acquire more FBVs in such channels considering their comparative advantage.
Usman said that the Authority would be willing to midwife and facilitate proposals to help make the new arrangement possible.
She said that she was convinced that with the cooperation of the NCS and other relevant stakeholders, the proposal on the FBV was realisable.
She said NPA would work with the chamber for the mutual benefit of both parties.
Mr Andy Isichei, the President of the Chamber, had told the managing director that the shallow nature of some sections of the nation’s water channels was of concern to its members.
He said that the FBVs should be encouraged in such channels. Meanwhile, NPA has reiterated that it would continue to accord priority attention to suggestions and recommendations from stakeholders in the maritime sector.
Usman gave the assurance when she received members of the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) in her office in Lagos.
Usman urged stakeholders to bring useful suggestions on critical areas of the NPA’s operations.
The managing director said that the management of NPA would consider such submissions on their merits and within budgetary implications.
She assured of NPA’s willingness to partner members of MAAN, especially in the areas of capacity building, technical support and arbitration.
The managing director was optimistic that the relationship between the two would be of mutual benefit to the parties.
The MAAN President, Mr Adewale Jones, had appealed for greater collaboration between the association and NPA.
He also commended the NPA for its bold step that has helped to growth and development of the nation’s economy.