Diamond Star Port and Terminals Ltd has commenced operations at its export processing terminal in Lilypond, Ijora-Apapa. The terminal was commissioned on Tuesday by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko.
Diamond Star Port and Terminals is appointed and licensed by Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) as the Export Processing Terminal (EPT) operator of the Lilypond Export Terminal located at Ijora-Apapa. This appointment makes the company the “Central Pregate” for processing all export containers ingressing Lagos Ports through roads and railway. There are two terminals – Okota and the Lilypond. The Okota terminal will serve Tincan ports, whereas the Lilypond will serve Apapa ports.
Mr. Bello-Koko, while commissioning the terminal, commended the management of Diamond Star Port and Terminals for the appointment. He alluded to the company’s competence, capacity, and work ethic to perform creditably well. He expressed confidence that they will bring added value to the operational value chain in the sector. Speaking further, he said that the terminal being a pre-gate for processing all export-bound containers entering Lagos Ports, using the road corridors, was a demonstration of the premium placed on speed and priority in handling of exports – in a bid to make Nigeria’s exports competitive in the global market place.
According to him, “This initiative will improve NPA’s commitment to the implementation of the National Action Plan on Agric-export of the Federal Government of Nigeria, and help to fulfil government desire to diversify the national economy from oil-export to non-oil export. Export Processing Terminals are holding areas positioned in Lagos and Ogun States to help exporters prepare their arrivals at port terminals in view of the traffic challenges that have been observed overtime in Lagos.” He said that the Authority is by this initiative positioning to infuse greater efficiency into the logistics surrounding the entry of the export boxes into the ports and the eventual loading on sea-going vessels.
The Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) of Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), Zone A, Adeyanju Aremu, said that the service had developed Standard Operating Procedure in line with global standards to remove impediments along the export chain. She urged the users of the port to take advantage of customs commitment to the facilitation of legitimate trade to excel in their business and put Nigeria on the global map of top non-oil exporters.
The Managing Director of Diamond Star Port and Terminals, Mr. Olatunji Baale, said that the appointment of the company is a confirmation of the competencies, capabilities, and available facilities of the company to manage export processing terminals at a degree of operation demanded by the Nigerian Ports Authority. “Diamond Star Port and Terminals, is a fully integrated cargo and terminal logistic company, with core competence and expertise in port and terminal operations, barge operations, cargo handling services, outer port terminal operations, warehousing services and all related ports and cargo handling services.” He affirmed that this appointment will add immense value to the operations of the company, and to the Nigerian economy.
Speaking further, he said that, with the commissioning of the terminal by the Nigerian Ports Authority, the company is fully ready for the commencement of operations. He added that right from start “We are going to be seeing a seamless delivery of export cargo boxes to the vessels. I am glad to inform you that at these terminals we have all the government agencies that are in charge of examination and processing of export terminals.”
In her remarks, the Director of Strategy and Business Development, Oyeyemi Ayeyemi commended the efforts of the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority for his forward thinking approach to Port operations and continuously engaging all stakeholders to ensure they get it right. She also acknowledged the impact of Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in promoting export and providing guidance and trainings for exporters. She recognized the dutiful efforts of Nigeria Custom Service and other Government agencies for working hard to ensure that our export meets international standards. She said their presence signifies the importance and the eagerness to see how export business will improve in our country. According to her “In Diamond Star we will do our best to ensure that the movement of containers from different warehouses of the exporters get to the port in good time to encourage more volume. We also want to encourage those who have been discouraged in export business as a result of processes at the port. We hope that such people and businesses will cease the opportunity of our offering to start rethinking their business strategies, knowing that Diamond Star Export Processing Terminals will be willing to support them and enhance their businesses.”
In conclusion, Oyeyemi called on Nigerians to start thinking of engaging in export business to increase their foreign exchange earnings and improve our economy at large.