‘Impressive Progress At Liberian Seaports’, President Sirleaf lauds NPA Management

(By: Malcolm Prosperous-Weh Scott, NPA-Liberia)

The remarkable gains being made by the Matilda Parker administration at the National Port (NPA) have been recorded in   the annual report of her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf   with specific emphasis on sustained progress in the areas of development, operational activities and revenue.

In her 10th annual message to members of the 53rd National Legislature on Monday January 26, 2015, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf highlighted the success story of the NPA indicating that ‘impressive progress’ has been made in the Liberian Seaports inspite of the Ebola Virus disease that struck the country.
The Liberian leader explained   that development and operational activities at the three major seaports – Monrovia, Buchanan, and Sinoe, made impressive progress in terms of ships serviced and revenue generated.

The president’s continuous acknowledgment about the achievements by the current management team at the National Port Authority is unprecedented considering that; low revenue, theft of property, lack of accountability and security and consistent strike actions by port users over issues of benefits and adequate remunerations among other things were the order of the day at the Gate way to the Country’s economy during past administrations.

“Development and operational activities at the three major seaports – Monrovia, Buchanan, and Sinoe, made impressive progress in terms of ships serviced and revenue generated when Ebola struck. We will conclude action for the development of the Buchanan Port under the proposal from the French Company Bollare and the Sinoe Port under proposal from the Dutch Company APM, which manages the Freeport Port of Monrovia”.- President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  declared.

 In her annual message 2013, President Johnson-Sirleaf said “the National Port Authority has performed well to counter the situation in which the lack of maintenance over decades left our seaports in dire straits.”

Reminiscing previous achievements by MD Parker
 Since the appointment of Madam Matilda Parker, the post war status of the NPA continued to change to organizational excellence by rewarding, recognizing and promoting the interest of its workforce as its most valued asset.

Improved customer service through a diversified offering of exceptional valued-added port related infrastructure, logistics and anti Ebola measures; evident by the berthing of more vessels in 2014, 13% compared to previous years cannot be over emphasized.

additionally  , for the first time in many years since the establishment of the National Port Authority, the administration of Madam Parker succeeded in Producing  a 25 Year Master Plan, a roadmap that was initiated to realize the vision of the NPA.  
 A multi-year training plan to build the capacity of the NPA employees has also been developed by the NPA management. As a result,   Over 40% employees have participated in professional development programs In Israel, Ivory Coast, China, Singapore, Benin, Ghana, the United States as well as the dredging  and  reconstruction of the BMC pier for the support of iron ore expert.

Exactly one year after Madam Parker assumed office; the Freeport of Monrovia became ISPS compliant [with no conditions] march 2010, and moved from security level 2 to security level 1. The Freeport of Monrovia is being transitioned into a Landlord Model, with an award of the operations contract to APM Terminal to handle port operations, which includes container handling, cargo handling, marine, etc.

 The Port of Buchanan continued to remain ISPS compliant [with conditions] since March 2010. The port layout plan is under development, with opportunities for expansion.
 New offices have been built with the port facility fully electrified.

 The recruitment of security officers in the port of Greenville is underway, rehabilitation and   renovation of the buildings completed,   CCTV criminals installed, Removal of the wreck and dredging completed. The port layout plan is under development, with opportunities for expansion in support of the oil palm industry.

 The initial rehabilitation for the port of Harper is under contract, recruitment of security officers in the port of Harper is in progress, removal of the wrecks and dredging remains scheduled.
The port layout plan is under development, with opportunities for expansion in support of the oil palm industry. The coast Guard is in the process of re-establishing itself in the Freeport of Monrovia, with plans to expand to Harper.

 2014 marked another record-setting year for the National Port Authority despite the damaging impact of the   Ebola Virus Disease on the Liberian economy.

ADMINISTRATION: During the first half of 2014, the NPA trained approximately 100 staff members on various trade related skills.  Members of the leadership team attended training at LIPA on Audits, Monitoring, Human Resources and Archiving.    During the second half of the year, the NPA trained 56 security officers at the Maritime Training Academy, and 375 employees and port users on CDC Ebola Prevention Methods.

In July, the entity implemented a rigorous Ebola response system, which included:
Automated temperature testing and feet/hand washing throughout all ports of entry;
Establishment of an Emergency Response Team (ERT) at all ports to monitor, track and respond to all Ebola related activities;  This includes, but is not limited to, the tracking of all employees who have or are experiencing Ebola related symptoms;
cancelation of all shore passes (courtesy) to sailors, whilst honoring all immigration visas; assignment of a dedicated Ebola Support vehicle at all port locations; closure of specific gates after 6pm, to limit port entry; restricting all guests to mandatory visitors for critical business issues; establishment of an Ebola Care location in the Freeport of Monrovia and rooms in Outports, to serve as holding areas until pickup by MOH

The success of this response system has resulted in zero Ebola cases at the NPA.
 The Authority established a new Logistic Department to manage the complete process involving planning, managing and controlling the flow of goods and services, information, real-time data and human resources from the point of origin to the point of destination.  Additionally, they have instituted the creation of an annual Work Plan to track the tasks of all employees, and measure their contributions towards key corporate goals.

FINANCIAL: The operating revenue for the National Port Authority increased by a conservative 1.0% to US $26.9 Million.  In 2014, the NPA issued waivers to rice vessels in an effort to avoid increases in the price of rice to consumers during the Ebola crisis.  The entity also issued numerous waivers for Ebola storage and warehousing transactions.

In 2014, per the instruction of the Ministry of Finance, the National Port Authority changed from calendar to fiscal financial year.   For Fiscal Year 2014 – 2015, the National Port Authority increased its donation to the Government of Liberia by 100%, from US $1Million to US $2 Million.

OPERATIONS: A record-setting 7,452,492 metric tons of cargo moved across National Port Authority docks in 2014.  This figure is 13% percent higher than the amount of tonnage handled the previous year.  Additionally, 76,075 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) were achieved.
In 2014, the National Port Authority posted the following increases in our key performance indicators from fiscal year 2013:

Vessel traffic increased by 12% or 64 vessels.  The breakdown was as follows:
 Freeport of Monrovia       8%     (or increased by 25 vessels),
 Port of Buchanan       32%     (or increased by 40 vessels),
 Port of Greenville     -21%     (or decreased by -12 vessels), and
 Port of Harper      33%     (or increased by 11 vessels)
Summer Dead Weight (SDWT) increased by 28% or 3,507,906 metric tons, and reflected a positive variance in all ports.
Net Register Ton (NRT) increased by 25% or 1,121,096 metric tons, and reflected a positive variance in all ports.
Containers /TEUs increased by 1% or 628 units:
 Freeport of Monrovia         -3%    (or -2,295 units)
 Port of Buchanan    2080%  (or   2,891 units)
 Port of Greenville         13%  (or  29 units)
 Port of Harper        0.3%  (or   3 units)
Throughput increased by 13% or 841,831 metric tons
Import increased by 15% or 261,561 metric tons     
Export increased by 12% or 580,300 metric tons

LEGAL: The National Port Authority won all local cases concluded in court this year.  Six of the seven cases were alleged for unfair labor practices, and one case was for the cancelation of a lease.  The latter case has been appealed at the Supreme Court, and NPA awaits court ruling.

NEW BUSINESS: The National Port Authority, in partnership with the National Investment Commission is considering the implementation of private partnership agreements for the operation of the Container Park in Greenville Port, the Container Park and Logistical Shorebase in Buchanan Port.

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