By Muyiwa Lucas
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on operational efficiency in line with the desire to deepen the relationship between the two ports.
The MoU is expected to boost businesses and strengthen bilateral relations between the two outfits.
Speaking to stakeholders at the NPA head office, the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Dr. Sokonte Davies, said aside a boost in efficiency through expertise, development and digitalisation, the MoU would ensure simultaneous growth with new skills being acquired and new trends opened.
Davies represented NPA Managing Director Hadiza Bala-Usman.
The agreement which will last for five years, effective from November 27, will broaden technical skills and practical knowledge. The MoU covers areas like infrastructure, stimulation of trade growth as well as concretising the enabling environment for the tenents of Public Private Partnership (PPP) to thrive amongst the two ports.
The Antwerp delegation, led by Port of Antwerp President Annick De Rider, was optimistic of a greater future for the NPA as it makes progress in its concession regime; a factor he said influenced the MoU.
“West Africa takes a large share in the traffic of Port of Antwerp. It is, therefore, our ambition to further strengthen our position in West Africa. We aim to pass our know-how and experience to all. We hope that this mission will create new fruitful contacts, new connections and new business opportunities in order to ensure future growth for years to come,” De Rider said.
He explained that the ports of Antwerp is the second largest Port in Europe that aims for flexibility, response to a rapidly evolving Maritime Market, which has enabled the Port to continue playing roles in cooperation, adaptability and focusing greatly on digitalisation.
The Chairman, Board of Directors of the NPA, Emmanuel Adesoye, said the industry expectation was that the two organisations would leverage each other’s expertise for growth in trade, which would result in global economic development for the two nations.