L-R: Head, Shipping Development Department of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Mr. Anthony Ogadi, Director, Special Duties in charge of External Relations and Technical Cooperation, NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, Director, Africa, Port of Antwerp International, Belgium, Nico Vertongen, Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Belgium, Paulette Gondry-Van Trier, Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Senior Event Executive, Antwerp Port Authority, Kathleen Reinehr, Managing Director, Grimaldi Agency, Nigeria, Ascanio Russo and Registrar of Ships, NIMASA, Mrs. Nneka Obianyor during the visit of the delegation from the Port of Antwerp to NIMASA in Lagos.
As part of efforts to boost trade and encourage foreign direct investment opportunities in the Nigerian maritime sector, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is set to partner with the Port of Antwerp in Belgium.
This position was made known by the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, when he played host to a team from the Port of Antwerp in Belgium led by the Director, Africa Port of Antwerp International, Mr. Nico Vertongen, in Lagos.
Speaking at the meeting, the NIMASA DG stated that the Port of Antwerp had had a long standing relationship with the ports community in Lagos, noting that from 2017 till date, 302 vessels have called between the Port of Antwerp and the ports community in Lagos.
He said within the period, 33 vessels conveyed export goods from the port of Lagos terminating at the Port of Antwerp, with 22 Belgium-flagged vessels calling at Nigerian ports and several other volumes of transaction.
Peterside said the Agency was willing to consolidate on the gains of the Nigeria-Belgian relationship.
“We have always had a business relationship with the port of Antwerp either as destination ports or ports of origin. We are glad to know that you are in Nigeria and planning to lead a business mission sometime in November to the Lagos Port Community. Our position is straight forward and clear; we welcome the business mission with our doors open and believe there is a lot we can do together,” the DG said.
Dakuku also stated that the November meeting would be the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship in diverse ways that will also give opportunities for exchange of ideas.
The DG told the delegation that the Agency, which has the responsibility to ensure maritime security in the ports and waterways, had put in place a number of strategies, including a legal framework on piracy and maritime crime and acquisition of assets to build up response capability, to stop the pirates and criminals from operating within the coastal waters. The Agency is also building up alliance with Nigeria’s immediate neighbours, Dakuku stated.
Earlier in his address, the Director, Africa of the Port of Antwerp International, Mr. Nico Vertongen, who spoke on behalf of the delegation noted that the Port of Antwerp intended to come to Nigeria in November on a business mission with the intention of boosting the already existing relationship between the ports community in Lagos and the Antwerp port.
He also expressed their readiness to partner the Agency on port security, safety and also possible areas of training, adding that the meeting will further be an opportunity for the duo to be official partners.