Inability to handle large volume of cargoes coming into Nigerian Ports has been identified as one of the causes of its inefficiency in the shipping business in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello stated this when the International Monetary Fund officials visited the Council.
Bello said the ports which were mostly established in 1980 were not designed for the high volume of cargoes they handle today.
He said what Nigeria has today are not deep sea ports but river ports that cannot handle big vessels.
To curtail the shortcomings, he said the Council had short, medium and long-term plans which included the establishment of the Lekki deep port.
“The ports themselves are overstretched beyond their capacities. Constructed in 1980, they are handling more cargoes than they were made for.
“So we have short, medium and long-term for port. There is a port built in Lekki which will accommodate larger vessels for the economies of scale because these ports we have are river ports, they are not really deep ports and so there is always problem of dredging and so forth.
“Nigeria has three cardinal points; we are measuring the efficiency of the port so that we can compete not only inter competition but intra competition.
“We want the concessioned terminals to have a competition regime because we know this will lead to solutions because the customers will have a choice.
“We are also concerned with the cost of doing business. The cost is not only unrealistic which means we are working at disadvantage. A shipper will nominate the port he wants his cargo to be offloaded and so it is economic decision. We are working with the shipping companies to reduce the cost to about 30 percent and we will soon go into agreement.
“We are also concerned with the issue of ease of doing business. We are now doing 100 percent examination, we have no scanners at the port and I think around March or second quarter of the year, all these things will be done with the Customs, with all the stakeholders. It is very important because the port is a potpourri of many interests.
“We want to first of all do the port community system because we need synergy in operations.
“Of course, national single window which is indication of all port processes which will actually reduce corruption in the port and we need to automate the port for faster clearance of cargo. What we are doing now is about 18 to 20 days and we want to reduce it to 7.
“There is ship turn-around time also 4.1 we want to reduce it further. Not only for import but we also need to have export
“The port economy is stretched, the potentiality of the port economy is very rich in content and new model infrastructure for which the NSC is now superintendent in dry ports. Ports allocated inland are also ports just that there is no water.
“We also have the port economy coming up where we shall invite states where these ports are cited.”
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