Nigerian Ports Authority

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is an agency that governs and operates activities in Nigerian ports. The body is responsible for managing and regulating the ports in Nigeria. The major ports controlled by the NPA include are the Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port in Lagos; Calabar Port, Delta Port, Rivers Port at Port Harcourt, and Onne Port. The Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the Presidency of (Nigeria) are partners in the NPA’s operations. The Nigerian Ports Authority’s headquarters are in Marina, Lagos. The current managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority is Mohammed Bello-Koko.

After the Ports Act of 1954 went into effect, the Nigerian Ports Authority began operations in April 1955. Only the ports in Lagos and Port Harcourt were initially handled by the public corporation, while other ports in Nigeria were operated by a few private enterprises. In addition to managing cargo handling, quay and berthing facilities at the Lagos and Port Harcourt ports, the initial law also gave it the responsibility of managing harbours and approaches to all ports in the country. The firm had expanded successfully by 1963 and was running a cargo ship between Lagos and Port Harcourt in addition to starting to dredge the Bonny terminal for oil activities. The business issued a £4.3 million loan stock in London that same year.


The Nigerian Development Plan, which ran from 1962 to 1968, increased the length of the quays and included new warehouses, machinery, and storage space. Only the Lagos Port was operating during the 1967–1969 Nigerian Civil War, while some areas of the Port Harcourt port were damaged. Burutu, Calabar, and Warri ports were added to its jurisdiction by a new decree in 1969. The firm took control of the Warri port from John Holt and Burutu from UAC. However, by the early 1970s, the Lagos port was already having a serious issue with congestion. The corporation entered into an agreement in 1973 with the World Bank to finance expansion of facilities within the ports.

Following the defeat of the cement armada, NPA sped up the building of port facilities. Two roll on roll off facilities were added to the Tin Can Island port by the government at a cost of more than 190 million naira. It improved amenities at the ports of Warri and Calabar and constructed a third dock in Apapa. Additionally, it built three lighter terminals in the cities of Kiri Kiri, Onne, and Ikorodu. To reduce inefficiency at the ports, a ports reform programme was implemented under Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency. As a result, around 24 terminals were granted a temporary concession to private operators. The landlord role, technical oversight, and other marine services will all still be carried out by NPA. The loading and unloading of freight will be handled by private operators.

The Nigerian Ports have since 2005 been under the federal government’s concessioning scheme, which aims to promote efficiency through public and private partnerships.

This “landlord arrangement,” as they refer to it, has promoted improved relationships and a high turnout of goods and services in and around the Nigerian Port system, whether in the major Western zone or the country’s eastern ports.

Nigerian Ports Authority

Sea and Inland Ports in Nigerian Ports Authority

The ports below are the sea and inland ports in Nigeria as at time of writing this article

1.  Lagos Port Complex

This is the popular Apapa port in Lagos. It mostly serves Lagos and western Nigeria, together with Tin Can Island Port. The main entry point for the country’s economy is the Lagos Port Complex.


2.  Tin Can Island Port.

The Tin Can Island Port in Lagos was hurriedly built in 1976 to address the issues caused by the 1975 “cement armada” incident. It had 10 berths and 2.5 kilometres of hard quay when it was finished, costing N200 million in total. It was put into service on October 14th, 1977.


3.  Calabar Port

The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy is based at Calabar, which is in Cross River State in the old eastern region of the nation. The oldest seaport in Nigeria and the one with the longest history is this one. 55 nautical miles up the Calabar River are port facilities.


4.  Delta Port

Delta Port, Rivers Port and Onne Port are located in the petroleum and natural gas producing Niger River Delta region of Nigeria. Delta Port in Delta State includes the ports of Warri, Burutu, Sapele and petroleum terminals at Escravos and Forcados.


5.  Rivers Port/Port Harcourt

The Port of Port Harcourt, Okirika Refined Petroleum Oil Jetty, Haastrup/Eagle Bulk Cement Jetty, Kidney Island Jetty, Ibeto Jetty, Macobar Jetty, and Bitumen Jetty are all part of the Rivers Port Complex in the coastal Rivers State. It is not the NPA that manages the port operations in Port Harcourt; rather, two port operators, Ports and Terminal Operators and BUA Ports and Terminal, have been contracted to do so. Rivers State, like Delta State, is a major oil-producing region in Nigeria.


6.  Onne Port

Onne, in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State is situated on Ngololo Creek close to the Bonny River and is 19 kilometres from Port Harcourt. Federal Ocean Terminal and Federal Lighter Terminal are the two main buildings that make up the port. The Nigerian government classified Onne Port as an Oil and Gas Free Zone. Over 100 businesses presently hold work permits at Onne Port, which acts as a hub port for oil and gas operations in West Africa and Central Africa.

Nigerian Ports Authority

Functions and Responsibilities of Nigerian Ports Authority

1. Port Management: The primary function of the Nigerian Ports Authority is to manage and operate Nigeria’s seaports, which include major ports such as Lagos Port Complex, Tin Can Island Port, Port Harcourt Port Complex, and Onne Port Complex. These ports serve as gateways for imports and exports, handling a significant portion of Nigeria’s international trade.

2.  Regulatory Oversight: The NPA serves as the regulatory body for all port activities in Nigeria. It establishes and enforces rules, regulations, and tariffs for port operations to ensure fair practices, safety, and security. This includes setting standards for port infrastructure, cargo handling, and environmental protection.

3.  Infrastructure Development: The NPA is responsible for the development and maintenance of port infrastructure. This includes the construction of new terminals, jetties, and facilities to accommodate the growing demand for maritime services and trade.

4.  Revenue Generation: The NPA collects revenue from various sources, including port charges, tariffs, and other fees associated with port operations. This revenue contributes significantly to the government’s income and is used to fund infrastructure projects and improve the efficiency of port services.

5.  Security: Ensuring the safety and security of ports is a critical responsibility of the NPA. They work in collaboration with security agencies to prevent illegal activities such as smuggling, piracy, and terrorism within the port areas.

6.  Trade Facilitation: The NPA aims to streamline and improve the efficiency of port operations to facilitate international trade. This involves reducing congestion, improving cargo handling processes, and implementing technology-driven solutions for better logistics management.

7.  Environmental Protection: The NPA is committed to mitigating the environmental impact of port operations. They enforce regulations to minimize pollution, manage waste disposal, and promote sustainable practices in and around port areas.

8.  Collaboration: The NPA collaborates with other government agencies, shipping companies, terminal operators, and international organizations to ensure the smooth flow of goods through Nigeria’s ports.

Nigerian Ports Authority

Challenges confronting Nigeria Ports Authority

The Nigeria Port Authority faces several challenges, these include Infrastructural deficiencies

  • Congestion
  • Bureaucratic bottlenecks
  • Corruption etc.

These issues can hinder the efficiency, competitiveness smooth running of Nigerian ports. However, recently the NPA has embarked on modernization initiatives and partnerships with the private sector to address these challenges and improve port operations.

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