JosepDam Port Services Limited (JPS), operators of Terminal ‘A’ at Tin-Can Island Port, has blamed the delay in executing the port development plan on the presence of a conveyor belt in the terminal.
Simon Travers, managing director of the firm, said this when the house of representatives committee on privatisation and commercialisation visited JPS facility in Lagos on Thursday.
“We have a concession agreement with the NPA, which clearly states what our development plan is and we cannot fulfill the developmental plan on the basis that there are structures within the terminal in our way,” a statement quoted Travers to have said.
He said the conveyor belt belonged to Honeywell Flour Mills.
Lanre Jaiyeola, managing director of Honeywell Flour, who was also at the meeting, said the conveyor belt had been deactivated, but has not been removed from the terminal.
“JPS has no power to demand the removal of the conveyor belt since there is an agreement between the milling firm and NPA,” Jaiyeola said.
Shadimu Mutiu, vice- chairman, house committee on privatisation and commercialisation, who led lawmakers to the terminal, said the visit was to resolve the rift, which has been in court for more than 10 years.
“We are here in respect of the petition written by Honeywell against JPS and we are here to see how we can amicably solve the problem without necessarily resulting to legal settlement,” he said.
“The conveyor belt in question belongs to Honeywell but it is situated inside Terminal A which belongs to JPS. Hopefully, we will resolve the issue out of court.”
Abdulaziz Mafindi, deputy director, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), said the bureau and the NPA had made efforts in the past to resolve the issue but no sustainable agreement had been reached between JPS and Honeywell.
“BPE and NPA jointly handed over the operations and management of the terminal to JPS. It is our responsibility to hand over this terminal without any encumbrances but unfortunately this was not done as a result of the presence of Honeywell conveyor belt in their terminal,” he said.
“We expect that at the end of the concession agreement, we expect that there should be a remarkable infrastructure development in the terminal so that it would have added value when the terminal will be re-concessioned but they have not been able to do that because of the presence of the conveyor belt.
“In the past, we have made so many effort to mediate and find a lasting solution to this problem but unfortunately here we are again trying to solve the same problem.”
Travers said the company was able to carry out development and maintenance works in excess of $13.5m and assured the committee members of his readiness to invest millions of dollars to develop the terminal into a world class bulk terminal.