The Maritime Services Department is responsible for formulating and implementing policies and programmes which relate to the development and management of maritime infrastructures and assets in the Maritime Transport Sub-sector, particularly development and operation of Sea, River and Dry Ports and related activities. It also supervises and coordinates the activities of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), National Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA) and Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).

The Department is structured into three divisions namely;
i. Coastal & Ports Administration;
ii. Inland Waterways; and
iii. Inland Container Depots Divisions.

The specific functions of the Maritime Services Department as approved by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation in June, 2014 include:

i. Formulates policies on Port Development, Inland Water Transportation and Inland Container Terminal/Dry Ports/Bonded Terminals;

ii. Coordinates Greenfield Port Infrastucture and supervises the activities of Private Jetties;

iii. Processes request for Private Jetties license/renewal and approval for Midstream disharg operation;

iv. Stevedores and related activities and Port concession and matters;
Port facilitation and Secretariat of facilitation Committee;

v. Port facilitation and Secretariat of facilitation Committee;

vi. Water-hyacinth removal and utilization;

vii. Port management Association of West and Central Africa matters;

viii. Dredges of Port Channels and Inland Waer-ways;

ix. Oversees the following Parastatals
a. Nigeria Port Authority
b. National Inland Waterways Authority
c. Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria
d. Nigeria Shippers' Council

x. Developes River Ports;

xi. Freight and Freight charges;

xii. Policies and issues on Reception facilities; and

xiii. freight and tariff matters