In a bid to curtail human interface and improved vessel turnaround time, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has kicked off total digital manifest management regime for all vessels calling at the nation’s seaports.

Vessels calling at the nation’s seaports situated at Warri, Calabar, Onne, Port Harcourt and Lagos had hitherto spent days by manually carrying out their requisite interface with the nation’s apex regulatory agency thereby losing valuable time and resources.

The manual process helped in no small way in making cargo dwell time (CDT) in Nigeria one of the highest in the West and Central Africa Sub-regions.

The agency in a statement issued in Lagos and made available to Maritime Bits noted that physical transactions concerning sailing certificates and cargo manifest processing are being phased out completely as stakeholders are encouraged to fully embrace the initiative by visiting its portal.

The statement which was signed by its Assistant Director, Public Relations, Mr. Edward Osagie quoted the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh saying that the automation is aimed at further reducing human interaction, improve efficiency and block revenue leakages.

His words: “In line with the Federal Government’s Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business, we are committed to improving turnaround time of vessels, reduction of human interface in majority of our transactions with our stakeholders and this is in our bid to ensure transparency and professionalism that the sector require to grow.”

“We have improved our operational relationship with our sister agencies. As we speak, we have made tremendous progress in our determination to convey sailing clearance for vessels to the NPA electronically. We also receive and process manifests electronically. This has improved efficiency leading to improvement in the turn-around-time of vessels calling at the nation’s ports.

“Right now we have ensured that the process of submitting and processing manifests is reduced from 72 hours to 5 hours for VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) and larger container vessels whereas it would only take two hours or less for smaller vessels), you would agree with me that these are marked improvement and it is still work in progress”.

Continuing, the NIMASA helmsman noted that the benefits that would be derived from the total digitalization of all the agency’s processes expected to be completed by 2022 would be enormous not just for the stakeholders, but for the country at large including helping to improve balance of trade, and improved commercial shipping activities in Nigeria.

Maritime Bits had reported that Jamoh led administration had always advocated the automation of the agency’s processes for enhanced and effective delivery of services. This renewed drive is seen as another stride in the total transformation of the maritime sector for economic benefit.

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