It is my pleasure and great honour to deliver a good will message to this highly distinguished audience on the occasion of the 2022 World Maritime Day, themed: “NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR GREENER SHIPPING.”
This theme couldn’t have come at a better time than now, when humanity is confronted by heightened challenges of environmental hazards with its effect on air quality, coastal erosion, waste management and energy efficiency.
In keying to global agenda for sustainable environment, the IMO has issued various instruments for its member nations to adopt and implement towards mitigation or eradication of the challenges posed to man and his environment.
Eco-friendly port is very much in tandem with the Nigerian Ports Authority’s resolve to identify with the rest of humanity in contributing to the share of the shipping industry in reducing hazardous emissions within the marine environment. This is also in-sync with the National Agenda for the adoption of globally prescribed solution to environmental hazard through the National Blue Economy Initiative.
Bringing environmental efficiency and digitalization to the maritime industry is a duty we all owe our habitat. We must change the competition paradigm in the maritime sector from focusing solely on cost savings and revenue maximization to environmental sustainability.
Realizing that automation is the pillar of port efficiency, we are working assiduously under the technical guidance and consultancy of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to deploy the Port Community System (PCS) which will afford us the platform needed to develop a cocktail of digital solutions that can make ships more energy-efficient, reduce pollution, while at the same time ensuring the global competitiveness of the Nigerian Ports through eco-friendly services.
As a mark of our resolve towards environmental sustainability, we have created a desk on Ballast Water Management (BWM) manned by a subject matter expert to address Climatic Action and Life Below Water.
To further demonstrate our commitment to matters of healthy environment, the Authority towards the end of 2020 signed the IMO Sulphur Regulations 2020 which mandates a maximum Sulphur content of 0.5% in marine fuels globally. The driver of this change is the need to reduce the air pollution created in the shipping industry by reducing the Sulphur content of the fuels that ships use. Transition to the use of natural gas which is more environmental friendly by vessels plying our waterways is on our agenda as an organization that believes in the catalytic role that natural gas can play in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, in particular Goal 7 – to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Let me seize this opportunity to reiterate that the NPA is poised to embrace partnerships and support policies and actions steps aimed at optimizing the advantages that the endowment of over a hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas can bring to bear on Nigeria’s economy.
As some of us are aware, the Lekki Deep Seaport, which is set to become operational before the end of this year 2022 is built to attract bigger volumes of cargo by leveraging on its capacity to berth large super post panamax vessels. And the fact that the port is fully automated means that ships will spend lesser time in port, thus reducing fuel consumption and emissions during vessel operations. The Badagry Deep Seaport for which approval was recently gotten will also toe same path of full automation at take-off.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, almost everything you buy no matter how organic or natural has an impact on the environment. Why? Because everything made and sold has to be transported, and transportation almost always means burning fossil fuels. These problems will only grow worse as the volume of shipping increases. And increase it must — global trade is an important economic driver that helps spur development and reduce poverty. Already, it accounts for half of the world’s total economic output. And over 90 percent of that trade goes by sea.
Although it is good to know as studies have shown that sea transport is the most environmentally friendly of transport forms, the very fact that vessels that run on natural gas are even more environmentally friendly is the more reason why the NPA is greatly excited by the theme of this year’s World Maritime Day and will make use of initiatives arising from deliberations as we work towards making our port operations eco-friendly.
With shipping volumes so high, even modest improvements can have a big impact on the long run. So I want to assure you that the Authority will continue to galvanize stakeholder opinion to explore ways of preserving our environment even as we advance the frontiers of trade facilitation.
I thank you very much for your time and God bless.
. Being a Goodwill Message by the Managing Director/CEO Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, at the World Maritime Day celebration in Lagos, Nigeria on September 29, 2022.