Sierra Leone Ports Authority in the Fight Against COVID-19

Sierra Leone Ports Authority in the Fight Against COVID-19

Sunday, September 20, 2020 4:15 pm



SLPA GM, Dr. Abdulai Fofanah


The Social & Economic Measures

Through the horizontal foresight of Management of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority, SLPA, Management instituted strict social and safety measures as part of its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the fight against the novel coronavirus-COVID 19. The Management engaged in a series of meetings with stakeholders in shipping operations to discuss the implementation of safety and social measures to mitigate the effects of the virus in the operations of the port.

Taking into consideration the strategic importance and location of its operations; being a major economic gateway to the Republic of Sierra Leone, SLPA discussed the economic impact of the virus and its preparedness to ensure strict compliance at all fronts within its areas of operations.

SLPA DGM, Yakuba Askia Bio

In one of Management meetings, before Sierra Leone recorded its index case, the Authority among other things discussed the revenue generation drive and the need to institute financial prudence on its expenditure and enhance both its traditional and non-traditional revenue generation strides.

SLPA General Manager, Dr. Abdulai Fofana viewed it that the Port is one of the major economic gateways to Sierra Leone and would be impacted negatively in the event of an outbreak of the Coronavirus.

“SLPA is working in line with the Government’s preparedness strategy to prevent the outbreak of the disease.”

Dr. Fofana called on staff coordination and urged Management to tread cautiously on its expenditure and enhance revenue generation on its non-traditional revenue generation activities, especially on rents and licenses.

The General Manager further stated that vessel traffic at the Port is somewhat steady now, but the economic effects of the pandemic on the Port may be more visible by the next quarter of the financial year 2020.

SLPA Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Abdulai Jalloh has also called on Sierra Leoneans, and especially Port users, to adhere to Covid 19 preventive measures especially during cross-border interactions.

At the said meeting, it was resolved that SLPA partners with private Port operators on Covid – 19 prevention at the Freetown Port, develop Standard Operating Procedures on Disease Prevention measures such as placing a ban on ship crew members to land from their vessel.

The Authority is working 24 hours round the clock to ensure safety and social compliance in other Ports facilities including the Ferry Terminals.

The Deputy General Manager of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA), Mr. Yankuba Askia Bio on Thursday 26th March 2020 paid an unannounced visit the Kissy Ferry Terminal to monitor the implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures on COVID-19 preparedness at the Freetown Port and its facilities in Freetown including the Ferry Terminals.

Further to the unannounced visit, the Deputy General Manager and the team held discussions with the Ferry operators on awareness-raising on the Authority’s SOP on COVID-19.

On the issue of overcrowding on ferry plying the Freetown-Targrin Estuary, Mr. Bio said the Ferry Terminals complied with SLPA SOP on security and safety instituted at the Ferry Terminals by Management.

“The Ferry Terminals are in full compliance with the International Safety & Security standards.”

COVID-19 social measures in ferry operations

Mr. Bio noted that there was less traffic at the Ferry Terminals owing to the temporary measures instituted by the government on the closure of the Lungi International Airport due to the COVID-19. Because of these measures and the less traffic at the terminals, Management through the Ferry operators rescheduled trips on ferries plying the Freetown-Targrin estuary and instituted preventive measures against COVID-19 at the terminals.


Covid -19 Social Measures in Ferry Operations

In the meantime, the rescheduled ferry trips are as follows:

  1. First Trip: 8: 00 am on both Sides
  2. Second Trip 2: pm on both sides
  3. Third Trip 5: 00 pm on both sides

Ferry Terminals Preventive Measures for COVID-19

  1. Thermometer test on the entry and exit point of the terminals
  2. Hand washing at the Terminals’ entry & exit points

The Management of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority reinforces its commitment to uphold safety and security to its utmost consideration and in full compliance with the Government’s preventive measures on COVID-19.


SLPA Management: Beyond Expectation!

Two years of leadership of Dr. Abdulai Fofana and Mr. Yankuba Askia Bio as General Manager and Deputy General Manager respectively at the Sierra Leone Port Authority has made a tremendous institutional transformation in the management of staff, doing business at the Authority and creating the enabling environment for business and development partner to scale up their level and interest in doing business with the Authority.

Fundamentally, the Management of the Authority in compliance with the New Direction vision of His Excellency Brigadier (Retired) Dr. Julius Maada Bio and his government has further accelerated the development plans of the Authority at an exponential pace.

An integral part of the short-term transformation of the Authority is reflected in the prodigious facelift of the Administrative building which was left unattended to over the years. The administrative building has been renovated with a status conducive for a decent and productive work environment.

An outstanding breakthrough in the institutional reform process of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority includes the repairs conducted at the Kissy and Targrin Terminals. The works carried out at the two terminals have ameliorated the outlook of the terminals, making the business environment immensely safe for pedestrians and other users.

The commissioning of the new ultra-modern multi-purpose hall containing a spacious lorry park, fully air-conditioned waiting lounge, luxurious toilet, and other facilities to the public has further improved customer confidence and comfortability in using the services at Kissy Ferry Terminal.

Before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, Management in improving the Authority’s security status, scaled up muster drills to increase the awareness of staff and port users on security preparedness, emergency response and rescue without casualty. The remarkable improvement in the security sector of the Authority eventually earned the Authority the International Ship and Port Security Code 2019 Medal of Honor thereon significantly changing the perception of the U.S and Canadian Military Coast Guard on International Safety and Security standards operating in the Port of Freetown.  The invaluable security pieces of training conducted by the U.S and Canadian Military personnel in 2019 immensely contributed to the transformation and improvement in the security sector of the Sierra Leone Port Authority.

Management on Wednesday 13th March 2019 hosted a team of military personnel from the United States of America and Canada Coast Guards and Navy at Queen Elizabeth II Quay on Obangame Express 2019 training on security and safety.

Sixty (60) security personnel of the SLPA were trained and certified as security experts for the port and maritime security. This training has increased the capacity of security inspection at the port and decreased security threat for goods and port users. The Port now enjoys an incredible reputation in the maritime industry.

On our financial portfolio, Management has made significant progress on the Authority’s U.S Dollar account by 150% (One Hundred and Fifty Percent) while the Leones account has jumped by 40% (Forty Percent). This development has earned several awards for the Authority from local and international organizations with special reference to the General Manager Dr. Abdulai Fofana and Mr. Yankuba Askia Bio Deputy General Manager respectively.

In the area of service delivery, the Authority through the Operations and Monitoring department has introduced 24/7 anchorage to support the National Revenue Authority Saturday customs clearing, thereby reducing cost and time of doing business in the Port. The 24/7 pilotage and anchorage has furthered the decongestion of the Port.

Strategically, the Authority in the last 24 months has prioritized the consolidation of gains made during the 24 months of service in the Authority particularly in the areas of security, improved quality of service delivery, rebrand the Authority’s corporate image, and competitiveness in the maritime industry.

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