Management of Ro-Ro Terminal under Five Star Logistics Ltd

Due to the dilapidation of Ro-Ro terminal before our take-over, the cable ditch running right across the entire length of the quay apron had broken up and become impassable to cars, trucks, cranes and other cargo handling plants of any reasonable weight. Fruitful activity cannot be carried on at such a terminal under this condition. Although the authorities ought to carry out these repairs, Five Star Logistics Ltd effected them so as to accelerate a quicker dispensation of the redevelopment process. It set about a total repair of the cable ditch and other failed sections including gullies, holes and ditches all over the quay operating areas.

A marshy ground measuring 2 hectares formed part of the lease of Ro-Ro terminal. This has lain waste since the construction of the Tin Can Island Port in the 1970s. Today the entire space has been paved smooth 10-inch pure concrete to meet the global standard for car parking or container-stacking area surfaces.

Unlike in the days of old when darkness reigned supreme at night, Ro-Ro terminal has been fitted with appropriate floodlighting in strategic places for proper illumination at night or during cloudy conditions. This is in line with recommendations of several international maritime authorities, especially the ILO and in compliance with ISPS Code. As a result of this development, work takes place at Ro-Ro terminal day and night, facilitating loading and/or offloading of vessels 24/7. Moreover, our workers on shift duty ensure an unbroken but reliable service at the terminal thereby achieving the desired efficiency, security and fast speed of service enunciated in the overall objectives of the seaport reform programme. Five Star Logistics Ltd installed 4 generators for emergency power supply to the terminal to ensure uninterrupted schedules.

Since the lack of cargo handling plants and equipment was one of the problems identified in the old order, Five Star Logistics Ltd set out to acquire all needed plants and equipment to ensure a new dispensation. The major cargoes passing through or terminal are cars, trucks, containers, steel coils, pipes and paper materials. On taking over Ro-Ro, Five Star Logistics inherited all sorts of serviceable and unserviceable equipment from NPA. The unserviceable ones were parked at our workshop area while the serviceable equipment were overhauled and put to use. In addition, Five Star Logistics Ltd also procured many additional equipment. In view of our projections for increase in cargo throughput in the immediate future and to satisfy our business plan to thoroughly modernize Ro-Ro terminal operation in Nigeria, further investments to acquire more plants and equipment have been concluded. But as a result of all these investments, ports congestion and delays in goods clearance, cargo positioning for customs checking or for loading and off-loading of ships have been totally eliminated fifteen months into our 15- year lease agreement. Chances of ports congestion in our part of the seaport is foreclosed now and in the foreseeable future.

Five Star Logistics Ltd complies with all marine work-site laws and IMO safety and pollution control measures. The company procured a purpose-built street-sweeper for direct cleaning of all grounds within the terminal. De-greasing of grease-prone areas is regularly done in addition to routine cleanliness of the port.

The company, in line with its 15-year Lease Agreement embarked upon a sustained programme of re-orientation of the labour force for shipside duties and terminal operations. This entails on-the-job training leading to the acquisition of relevant skills. Some of this category of our workforce was employed from the pool of disengaged former NPA staff who qualified following tests and interviews we conducted to ascertain their competences. In all, Five Star Logistics Ltd provides employment for not less than 200 persons as at date. And today, after 15 months of various training, our quayside staff are skilled in all areas of discharging cargoes bearing in mind the general codes of safety, security and quick turn around of the operating vessel. As reported by the World Bank’s PPIAF, at the end of 2006, foreign shipping lines have begun to remove the $300 “congestion surcharges” per container which were slapped on Nigeria-bound cargoes when her seaport systems were in the doldrums.

On the part of Five Star Logistics Ltd, these dock workers are provided conditions of service never before enjoyed by their predecessors at the waterfronts of Nigerian seaports. We ensure appropriate conditions of service, enjoy the use of ILO-recommended marine work apparels like uniforms, safety boots, helmets, reflective apparel and other work gear. In the past, they worked under less privileged conditions without a right of complaint. Therefore, job satisfaction and employee morale is obviously higher in the new dispensation leading to constant achievement of all targets for turnaround time of ships. Again, this justifies the benefits of the port reform programme. Moreover, we ensure that all our labour are registered with NIMASA.

A visit to the Ro-Ro terminal today will reveal how starkly different it is from the commotion of the past. With adequate gating system and 24-hour on-duty security operatives patrolling the grounds, all unauthorized persons are kept away from goods importers and exporters are taking through the ports. Hardly can any report of pilferage be lodged, unlike in the past when the car park areas featured a sea of heads and countless cases of pilfered goods and vandalized cars. The premises of Ro-Ro terminal now complies with ISPS Code requirements that port grounds be secluded and secured with formidable fence demarcations. But the security apparatus has not hampered visits of consignees of goods or any persons who have legitimate businesses to transact at the terminal. In fact, part of our innovation in this regard is the imminent provision of a special centre for all goods examination by either the Customs or the consignees at the terminal. By this arrangement, the importer of a car need not go into any of the car parks to inspect his vehicle prior to release. The vehicle is brought to the special examination centre where the importer conducts any desired due diligence on the state of his consignment upon arrival at the terminal.