1.0 Preamble
On Tuesday 25th July, 2017, National Inland Waterways Authority in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, held a one-day International Conference and Exhibition to address a critical national concern under the theme “Improving Navigability and Inland Ports Development for Sustainable Investment on Nigerian Waterways”.

The conference provided an opportunity for stakeholders in the Maritime and Logistics Sector to deliberate, review, improve and formulate actionable plans and initiatives towards reinventing the Nigerian Inland Waterways to be in the league of world class and to encourage Private Sector participation in inland waterways ventures.

The Welcome Address was delivered by the Managing Director/CEO NIWA, Boss Mustapha. The keynote Address was delivered by the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON. Goodwill messages from the National Assembly were delivered by the Chairman, House Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, Rt. Hon. Pat Asadu and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, represented by Senator Ahmed Ogembe. Also present is former Minister of Transportation, Rear Admiral Porbeni (rtd).

Over 550 participants of different stakeholder groups in the Maritime and Logistics sectors attended the International Conference and Exhibition notably, the Managing Director NPA, the Executive Secretary Shippers’ Council, the Ag. Director General ICRC, representatives of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Nigeria Shipowners’ Association (NISA), NIMASA, Hydro Marine, Nigerian Customs Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Police Command – Lagos State, LASWA, OSGOF, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Traditional Rulers, Ministry of Information, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Maritime Academy of Nigeria – Oron, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Kogi State Government, Niger State Government, Ogun State Government, Nasarawa State Government, Adamawa State Government, Commercial Institutions, Texas Connection Ferries, Gani Tarzan Maritime Services, Sandeep SFNGH, Multimodal Transport Limited, ATBOWAT, and many more.

2.0 At the end of the summit, and in the course of the discussion, attendees:
i. Expressed appreciation to the National Inland Waterways Authority and their collaborators, Federal Ministry of Transportation for taking the initiative to organize the International Conference and Exhibition of All-stakeholders. The conference noted that it was “indeed a platform for ventilation of ideas of how to reposition Inland Waterways as a channel of transportation for the growth of Nigerian economy. As we believe that the outcome of today’s conference will be treated with a sense of urgency and seriousness”.

ii. Observed that there was the need to adequately explore the Inland waterways as a means of boosting development in the country in view of the abundant mineral and agricultural resources available in most regions of Nigeria and the desire of the Federal Government to diversify the economy.

iii. Drew attention to the existing insecurity on waterways which could hinder engagement of Private Sector participation in the inland water transportation.

iv. Highlighted the poor state of infrastructure within the inland waterways sub-sector, including the absence of motorable access roads and rail linkages to fast track haulage services from coast to coast.

v. Stressed the imperative of automating documentation and eliminating paper-based transactions.

vi. Lamented the comparative lack of cargo for the waterways mode.

vii. Bemoaned the complicity of transactions in our port system.

viii. Urged NIWA to improve its channel management and dredging activities.

Other Features
The International Conference and Exhibition also featured:
i. Commissioning/Unveiling of the NIWA Harvester Vessel (FXB-11) and Aquatic Vegetation Cutter (AVC) otherwise known as Swamp Devil;
ii. Book Launch by the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON. The Book compiles the proceedings of the 1st NIWA ICE held in 2014.

Technical Sessions
Three Papers were presented:
i. Imperatives for enhancing navigation and inland port operations on Nigerian Waterways by Srdja Ljesevic, Head of Center for Port Operations, Port Governance Agency, Republic of Serbia.
The Paper was moderated by Hadiza Bala Usman – (MD/CEO NPA) and discussed by Dabney Shallholma (Mrs.) and Prof. C. C. Ibe.

ii. Deriving the benefits of investment in coastal and inland shipping operations on Nigerian Waterways by Otunba Kunle Folarin, Managing Director, Kenprima Nig. Ltd & Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council.
The Paper was moderated by Hassan Bello – (E.S. NSC) and discussed by Prof. Dele Badejo and Chief G. J. Notoma.

iii. Inland Water Transportation Optimization – The PPP Imperative delivered by Engr. Chidi K. C. Izuwah, Snr., Acting Director General/CEO, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.
After the technical paper presentation sessions, syndicate group discussion teams were formed. At the end of the discussions of the two (2) teams, the following recommendations emerged:

3.0 Recommendations
In view of the foregoing and after extensive deliberations, the Conference attendees called on the National Inland Waterways Authority to:
a. Enthrone a stable legal framework for the inland waterways subsector and initiate a strategic policy to promote development in the sector.
b. Develop the capacity of Nigerian inland waterways and grow traffic for the different river ports for operating inland water vessels.
c. Create interconnectivity between inland waterways and inland rail to create a viable commercial transport and logistics hub in Nigeria
d. Quickly work toward better collaboration among maritime agencies.
e. Engage in Partnership with Stakeholders to commence joint operations along the common trade corridors in Nigeria.
f. Rapid development of our coast to coast traffic e.g. Ganaja to Shintaku, Agenebode to Idah etc.
Other recommendations include:
i. Tackling Security Challenges facing Water Transportation headlong.
ii. Development of infrastructure facilities to aid water transportation.
iii. Provision of navigational aids to be given adequate attention.
iv. Encourage Private Sector participation in inland water transport through provision of adequate incentives to active investors.
v. Woo private investors in inland waterways subsector to invest in the window of opportunities prevalent in the sector.

The Organizers were finally called on to:
a. Sustain the platform created by the conference, as the conference was described as a good beginning for raising awareness about integrating and fusing the plans of inland waterways, and getting the acceptance of major stakeholders and the public.
b. Implement river training works to achieve all-year round navigation.

4.0 In closing
National Inland Waterways Authority expressed gratitude to the Hon. Minister of Transportation and Members of the National Assembly, State Governments, Captains of Industries, other Distinguished Guests and Stakeholders, the media, security agencies, and Maritime Agencies for their contributions and support towards the success of the Conference.

Dated this 25th July, 2017