The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, on Thursday presented operational licences to five Export Processing Terminals, EPTs, to scale-up exports in the country.
The five export processing terminals licensed are: Diamondstar Port and Terminal Ltd., at Lilypond Terminal, Ijora; Esslibra Terminal in Ikorodu and Sundial Global Ltd., Navy Camp site, Kirikiri.
Others are: Bellington Cargo Ltd., Okokomaiko, Lagos-Badagry Expressway and Tenzik Energy Ltd., Kirikiri Lighter Terminal 1.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, NPA, noted during the presentation in Lagos that the exercise reflected the authorities’ unflinching resolve to transform Nigeria’s export potential to reality.
Mr Bello-Koko, represented by Onari Brown, Executive Director, Marine and Operations, added that the authority had used the project to encourage local content in the export value chain.
He said the authority would offer the necessary support policy wise, to ensure the growth and stability of the terminals.
“The need for EPTs is underscored by the limitations of current port facilities in the Lagos area, which are operating beyond their ‘as built capacity’ for cargo handling.
“The EPTs are, therefore, holding areas positioned in Lagos and Ogun States to help exporters prepare their arrival at port terminals in-view of the traffic management challenges in Lagos.
“This initiative signposts the NPA’s commitment to the implementation of the National Action Plan on Agro-Export and the desire of the Federal Government to diversify the economy from oil export to non-oil exports,” he said.
He said the licensing exercise, which commenced in April 2021, had 30 companies expressing interest and were later streamlined to 10, out of which five met the authority’s requirements to join the Lilypond Export Processing Terminal.
He said the remaining six, which held provisional licences, would be dropped at the end of this month if they failed to meet the requirements to enable the authority consider other applicants on the waiting list.
He said the integration of the barge and train movements would complete the circle, and the authority looked forward to collaborating with Nigerian Customs to achieve this.
Mr Bello-Koko said NPA was not unaware of the existence of export warehouses handling manufactured products.
He said the authority was working with the Export Command of the Nigerian Custom Service to evolve seamless modalities.
“May I emphasise that movement of agro export boxes arriving the ports from Lagos and Ogun States shall only be allowed into the ports from any of these five Export Processing Terminals.
“For export containers arriving from the Domestic Export Warehouses (DEWs) located across the country, the authority is committed to receiving them subject to compliance with the traffic management put in place by the Lagos State government in collaboration with the NPA,” he said.
The NPA boss noted the partnership with Lagos State government was very effective in taming the gridlock.
“We are desirous of ensuring the export boxes, which represent important deliverable for us and the Federal Government work in sync with the structure for the mutual benefit of the state, national economy and Nigerian export community,” he said.
Also, Mohammed Babandede, Comptroller Lilypond Export Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, noted that the only way the country would grow was through the promotion of export.
According to him, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, has asked the command to ensure that the five export terminals approved by NPA get the required support for seamless trade.
“Anything that has to do with export, please don’t hesitate to come to our command to assist you.
“With the approval given by NPA, all exports should emanate from these five terminals and the additional 13 domestic export warehouses in the country.
“These are where customs officers can examine the export containers,” he said.
Responding, the export terminal operators appreciated the NPA for the licenses given, adding that the exercise would make the country a high volume non-oil exporter in the world.
They pointed out that their target was to bring ease to export business and address the huge imbalance in trade, and promised to handle goods with utmost professionalism.