Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shipping Council (NSC) has said that diversification of modes of transport would reduce the cost of transport and stagnation of ports in the country.
Bello told reporters in Abuja that transportation drives the economy and that the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari was working to ensure the diversification of the country’s transportation system.
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“We have had challenges in our Nigerian ports due to some distortions.
“I will give some examples from the road, our dependence on the road has cost us a lot, or it has hardened and has made it impossible for transport to make an expectant contribution in terms of income, in terms of employment and infrastructure.
“But the government is trying. Like I said, if it weren’t for COVID-19, we won’t have traffic jams, we would have connected the rail to the ports.
“Now the connection from the railroad to the port is important because it will do two things, for every trip the railroad makes, 38 trailers are removed from the port.
“Until now, the monopoly rests on road traffic, it is only the dominant connection, perhaps 90 percent, that drops cargo to the port.
“You cannot rely on just one mode of transportation. The Nigerian Shippers Council has now encouraged rail employment and also port evacuation and that will be at a cheaper price, “Bello said.
He said that various stakeholders from the maritime sector were collaborating to strengthen the standard operating procedure for rail.
He said: “That will mean two things, we have an alternative to the highway, we take out a lot of trucks and we give truckers a shot for their money.
“There will be competition, so this will mean that transport prices will fall very soon in the future and that is one of the achievements.”
According to Bello, the NSC is also looking at a very important aspect of port access which is the inland waterway lots.
According to him, diversified means of transportation will lead to competition, the law of supply and demand will be applied, so there will be a reduction in the cost of transportation.
“Also, the Federal Government has made a political statement that all ports and I hope this includes dry ports would be connected to the railroad. As I said, if it weren’t for COVID-19, the Chinese would have linked not just Apapa but Tin Can to the rail.
“The moment we have internal connectivity, the stagnation in Apapa will disappear, apart from the infrastructure efforts that the federal government has made.”
However, the head of the NSC noted that the infrastructure was not sufficient to manage the traffic, adding that the various stakeholders were working to develop an electronic system to ensure this.
On the high cost of doing business, Bello reiterated that the NSC had made it impossible for shipping companies to file arbitrary or unilateral charges that would increase the cost of doing business in the country.
He said the council was also working with the Nigerian Customs Service to ensure speedy clearance of cargo at ports.
“Due to the lack of scanners, the load is cleared after a 100% physical exam, now this is a primitive way of doing things and it causes a lot of delays.
“So the scanners will be redeployed very soon, we have been working with Customs, it takes five hours for a container to be physically examined and then cleared, but when we have the scanners it will take five minutes.
“So you can see that we are all making our ports efficient, we have the structure, the infrastructure superstructure in fact and the cleanup will be simpler, faster and cheaper,” Bello said.
Post-shipment diversification will lower costs, port stagnation – NSC appeared first in News.