New Telegraph

Ship towage service, concession to fetch FG N23.1bn

Following the approval of towage service concession to a firm at Lekki Port by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the Federal Government is to earn more than N23.1billion ($33million) from 5,000 vessels patronising Lagos seaports between January and December, 2023. Towage service is mandated by law to aid pilotage operations whereby tugs are employed to assist during the maneuvering of vessels in restricted water channel of the ports. Movement of foreign vessels within ports in the same pilotage district in Nigeria attracts between $2,500 and $5,000 per tug per movement instead of global charges of $3,620. Also, Nigerian flag vessel of one to 300 Length Overall (LOA) will attract N25,000 per number of days,while flag vessel of above 300 LOA will pay N35,000 per number of days as specified by the Federal Government.

According to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), minimum of two tugs are required for each movement of inward and outward uncharted channels within pilotage districts shall be Gross Tonnage (GRT) of the vessel multiplied by rate as in schedule 1 (Part i). The authority further explained in its guideline ls and regulations that hiring of its pilot cutter would attract $1,500 per day. Other towage charges include: attending to other ship movement within the port will cost $600 per tug/ move; assisting anchored ship to turn around, $600 per tug/move; towage of ship outside the bar to berth, $600 per tug/move; for hourly delay of tug by ship $400 per tug/hour and delay of pilot, $400 per tug/hour. It noted that pilotage districts operating without third party shall charge the rate as in schedule 1 (Part i).

It said: “Moves within ports in the same pilotage district shall attract a flat rate of $600 per tug per movement using tugs to assist a ship to swing/ turn shall attract a flat rate of $600 per tug per assistance “The delay of tug boat shall attract a fine of $400 per hour or part thereof, in addition to the fine for delay of pilot (detention) at the same rate. Tugs attending to a ship in distress without power or defective steering shall attract the rate of $2,500 per tug for 4hours or part thereof where applicable, third party towage companies would be paid 80per cent and the authority retains of 20per cent of the revenue collected per tug/movement.” Under its guideline, the authority explained that licensing of third party towage service provider shall also attract $20,000, noting that it shall be renewed annually at the rate of $10,000. Maximum of 72 hours is given as free period for any vessel using the inner anchorage before charges commence. Harbour Master(HM) is to forward relevant documents and information to Tariff & Billing for invoicing.

The port managers must ensure that vessels at anchorage are charged and payment made before leaving the anchorage. Last week, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the appointment of a company, Alcuff to provide towage services at the Lekki deep seaport. The Minister of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye, disclosed after the weekly FEC presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja that the concession, would run for 10 years. Adegoroye said: “So, because of the new Lekki Port and the Dangote Jetty, the need has arisen for a company that can carry out towage services to make things a lot easier and more effortless in the ports. “Ship berthing will be easier, discharge of goods will be easier. Of course, there was the argument that why would the company that provide such services at Apapa Port and Lagos Tin-Can Island Port not do it. We think that it will overstretch that company and because it would overstretch them, they will not be able to cope. They may not have the capacity to cope. “Secondly, we want the Lekki Deep Sea Port and the Dangote Jetty to be able to perform maximally. So FEC agreed with us and has given a 10-year concession to that company, Messrs Alcuff, to carry out towage services at the Lekki Deep Sea Port and the Dangote Jetty.”

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