Container handling operations at the Lagos Ports Complex, Apapa

The Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi has directed the Nigerian Ports Authority to immediately commence 24- hour ports operations across the nation’s seaports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar.

The Minister gave this directive while speaking at a trade forum between the NPA and delegation of the Miami Dade County, Florida, and Miami Port in the United States held in Lagos.

The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Marine Services in the ministry Alhaji Sani Umar Galandanci, assured that the relationship between the Nigerian Ports Authority and Port of Miami would help to build technical partnership, transfer of knowledge and further help to diversify Nigeria’s economy.

Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman also said that the new relationship between NPA and Port of Miami will definitely expand bilateral trade opportunities and enhance a greater opportunity that will be mutually beneficial to Nigeria and the US.

The MD, who was also represented by the Executive Director in charge of Engineering and Technical Services Prof. Idris Abubakar, said: “The trade forum is an important means through which we can highlight the capabilities of our port system and diversity of trade”.

Leader of the delegation and the Port Miami Audrey M. Edmonson expressed joy that a woman is at the helm of affairs in NPA, affirming that Miami – Dade County and Port of Miami are ready for business and investment in Nigeria.

Edmonson assured that everything would be done to ensure there is direct commercial flight between Miami and Lagos for fast facilitation of trade between the two great nations.

In his own contribution, the Chief Executive Officer of Miami Port,  Juan Kuryla disclosed that the port overcame congestion challenges by investing in new facilities over the years through the Public -Private Partnerships.

The CEO of Port Miami assured the stakeholders, that port expects closer synergy from ports across Africa, especially from the Lagos Ports whose relationship with them dates back to more than a decade of mutual association.

Meanwhile, the Ooni of Ife, Majesty, Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, who also spoke at the event, stated that it was good to benchmark the collaboration between Nigeria and the Port of Miami in the areas trade facilitation and bilateral ties.

The traditional ruler noted that the ideals of African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) needed to be upheld in all ramifications.

He argued that standardisation and packaging are vital aspects of trade facilitation that would aid comparative advantage in trade between Nigeria and the United States.

According to him, the Nigerian nation is blessed with vast mineral resources and cash crops such as banana, pineapple and Shea butter, which would attract investments.

He also argued that in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria, seats amidst multiple natural and mineral resources stressing that alliances not only with the United States but also with other countries both in Africa and beyond have to be strengthened to yield greater dividends.

Senator Ovie Omo – Agege, who represented the National Assembly at the event, appreciated the management of NPA for facilitating the stakeholders’ Trade Forum with the Miami Dade office of Economic Development and International trade.

He adding that it was in the interest of the nation to regularly engage and take proactive measures on existing and new investment opportunities.

Omo-Agege also added that the National Assembly would not fail to provide robust statutory frame works for the functioning of our governmental, corporate and social processes.

Also speaking at the event, the National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson lauded NPA, arguing that the forum would greatly improve trade relations between Nigeria and the United States of America in general and Miami – Dade county in particular, adding that NACCIMA would promote and advocate a free – market economy of which international trade is a major component.