- FG to Facilitate Infrastructural Devt to Boost Ports Operational Efficiency
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has reiterated federal government’s commitment to providing enabling environment for relevant stakeholders and other port users to carry out their businesses in line with global best practices.
This, she said, is in line with the Authority’s efforts to reposition the Nigerian ports as a reference point in sub-Saharan Africa.
Usman made the remarks at the 5TH edition of the Women in Logistics And Transport (WILAT) International Conference held at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos with the theme, ‘Effective and Efficient Logistics and Transport, As Key Components of Successful Organisation and Business’.
In her paper, ‘Government Directives on Ease of Doing Business in the Port: Its Challenges and Sustainability,’, the NPA boss stressed that the federal government would put in place machinery to achieve full implementation of the Executive Order in the areas of enabling and conducive environment, Customer Service Delivery to Stakeholders by way of Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) and transparency.
She stated that operational efficiency was pivotal to effective implementation and sustainability of the Executive Order of the federal government as its concerns the sub-sector.
Bala-Usman called on all stakeholders to imbibe the culture of leading by example at all times through the direct supervision of activities assigned to individuals and groups, stressing that it is critical in the area of optimising productivity by way of motivation and mentoring.
The NPA boss noted that there are challenges faced in the sub-sector in the area of security on the Nigerian waters, slow evacuation of Cargo out of the terminals and poor Intermodal system and the dilapidation of the rail lines in the Terminals. She stated that the NPA Management was willing and ready to partner with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) as a sister agency of the federal government towards the realisation of its policy on Ease of Doing Business.
In her welcome address, the Global Convener of WILAT, Aisha Ali Ibrahim, who doubles as Port Manager, Apapa Port Complex eulogised the numerous contributions of members over the years towards the actualisation of the vision of the international body.
According to her, “WILAT should strive at achieving its core values in the area of strategic employment and social responsibility.”
She charged for greater synergy in sponsoring and training women in the Middle East, whilst promising to make sure that the body’s chapters increase appreciably from 19, up from 12 in 2013 to 18 in 2017.
Bala-Usman had told journalists during the inspection of the rehabilitation of Apapa roads, recently that the federal government was interested in ensuring that the gateway to the nation’s economy-the ports are effectively and efficiently serviced in order to tap into the financial dividends accrueable to the national economy.
According to her, “This would impact most positively in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She stated that the inspection was part of the NPA’s aggressive strategy to ensuring that all the components required to meet deadlines were achieved.
Similarly, she noted that efforts were being made by the federal government to facilitate express funding of the project, which she stressed, would create a more enabling environment for doing business at the ports on completion, and subsequently attract investment in the sub sector.
The NPA chief stated that the federal government would appreciate swifter operational deployment by the construction company, A G Dangote whilst assuring port users of quality of work.
She added: “Efficiency is key in the NPA management’s operation, thus, all stones would be turned to actualise the reason for the ports roads rehabilitation which basically cascades to the stimulation of the ease of doing business at the ports across the country.”
She noted that the role of Holding Bays in decongesting the traffic gridlock in Apapa is critical, pointing out that a licensing regime on the subject is being perfected between the NPA and the Lagos State Government to enable operators in this regard have access into the ports and function under guided directives.
Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China
Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts
Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.
Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.
“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.
Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.
Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.
Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.
The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.
Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.
U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC
U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.
The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.
Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.
This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.
While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.
The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.
Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.
This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.
In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.
However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.
Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.
The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.
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