Low capacity a major impediment on port industry development – ANLCA National President
The National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. (Prince) Tony Iju Nwabunike, has identified low capacity in Nigerian ports as one of the factors working against development of the port industry.
He made this known while delivering a speech on the roles of Customs Brokers in seamless port operations, during a lecture, organised by Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria, at Sheraton hotel, Lagos.
Speaking through his representative, the Vice President of ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto, he pointed out; “Low capacity in Nigerian ports is another barrier in the system. This has negatively affected growth in the port industry, as merchant vessels now move to neighbouring countries with deep seaports, instead of coming to Nigeria.
“Countries like Ghana and Cote d’voire are already enjoying seamless port operations while Nigeria known to be the giant of Africa is still lagging behind.”
According to him;
“Recall that some years back neighbouring countries like Niger Republic, Chad, Burkina Faso, even Mali used to clear their goods in Nigeria, but that stopped due to lingering problems in our port system.
“Efforts made by Nigerian Shippers’ Councils (NSC) to bring back those neighbouring countries were unsuccessful, due to increased insecurity in our country and geographical location of seaports at places where traffic logjam seems to be a very serious problem that has defied all solutions.”
He went on; “Shallow draft has also been identified as one of the challenges in Nigerian port system. At present, Ghana a country within the West African sub-region invested more than $2billion in its port industry and Ghana currently is realising the economic benefits of repositioning its port industry. In terms of draft, Ghana is close to 19 meters while Nigeria is 13 metres.
“At the moment, Nigeria cannot boast of any millennium port for mega vessels, irrespective of huge sums of money government has invested in the sector. Therefore, cargo trans-shipment and other activities capable of creating jobs and wealth in Nigerian economy have been moved to neighbouring countries with modern port facilities and seamless port operations.
“Under-utilisation of Easter ports is another problem. Ports located in Warri, Sapele, Burutu and Forcados areas have been largely under-utilised for many years while government focuses more attention on Lagos ports, thereby causing congestion at Apapa/Tincan axis of Lagos State. Even Burutu port located in Delta State, which ought to be the main navigable channel for that axis has not been revamped to achieve the intended purpose.
“Also, the current state of Eastern ports makes freight charges quite exorbitant, when compared to what obtains at Lagos ports, thereby discouraging importers from using Eastern ports.”
Going further, the ANLCA helmsman called on the Federal Government and all stakeholders involved to address the challenges facing the port industry in Nigeria.