Hassan Bello expresses optimism over attainment of port automation by 2021

Abiola Seun

The Executive Secretary of the  Nigerian Shippers’ Council, (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has expressed optimism on the attainment of 90 percent automation of nation’s seaports operations by first quarter of 2021.

Speaking to journalists, Barrister Bello said efforts are afoot  to enhance port friendly environment and boost cost efficiency.

Bello noted that the ports digitalization process was currently at 60 percent, further noting that the Council is determined to continue to drive the process for port modernization aimed at increasing efficient service delivery, friendlier business cost, improved revenue to the Federal Government and the facilitation of legitimate trade.

Bello said that government, through the Council has since begun the process of full  digitization and integration of the Nigerian seaports, a development he said has improved the various ports stakes, services, businesses and operations, adding that there was a need to have paperless operations at the ports, to discourage human interaction and consequently reduce sharp practices and corruption.

He said plans were in top gear to partner and fully involve the financial services sector in achieving financial inclusiveness in the port industry as an essential support fundamental.

Bello explained that the Federal Government through relevant agencies will ensure that players and operators brainstormed on this in order to work out acceptable roadmap for the robust implementation of insurance in the freight and shipping industry, and as a guarantee against losses and risks.

In addition, Bello also advocated for a strong inclusive maritime financial support by commercial banks, as another ingredient required to retool the nation’s maritime and ports growth initiative aftermath of the coronavirus global pandemic.

The NSC helmsman said his agency and the other agencies in the maritime industry plan to meet soon with insurance companies and banks, including the National Insurance Commission, NICON, and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, together with the freight operators to begin the process to deepen the initiative.

Bello said the apex bank needed to intervene in the maritime industry because it is a sector that has the capacity to generate not less than N7 trillion, up from its current N1.9 trillion threshold.

He described the maritime sector as the engine room of economic growth, especially by virtue of the nation’s vast coastline and huge natural resources, adding that there was a need for concerted efforts by all concerned to leverage its many deliverables.

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