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Why Nigerian ports lost cargo hub status to neighboring countries—-Stakeholders

Eyewitness reporter
Nigerian ports may have effectively lost the bid to become transshipment centres in the West and Central African sub-region due to its aging and dilapidated infrastructure.
For several years, Nigeria’s government has laboured to position its ports as load centres in the sub-region for economic advantages.
But an investigation by our correspondent has revealed that long years of government neglect,  lack of adequate investments in infrastructure, corruption, the multiplicity of government agencies and high cost and cumbersome nature of goods clearance of cargo at the Nigerian ports have all combined to rub Nigerian ports the preferred destination for cargoes within the sub-region.
Therefore, this development has made stakeholders in the industry berate the Government for its failure to develop the port infrastructure which they lamented have greatly decayed and dilapidated.
They disclosed that even after the ports were concessioned to private business interests, the concessionaires have done little to change the narrative as few of them are actually investing in the infrastructural development of the ports.
The stakeholders claimed that 90 percent of the infrastructure in the ports is more than 40 years old, which could no longer handle the volume of the operations at the ports.

Mr. Adeyinka Sholeye, a Marine Engineer,  said that Nigeria has lost its transshipment hub status to West African countries like Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic due to dilapidated port infrastructure in Nigeria.

“These countries claimed trans shipment hub status from Nigeria because they have developed their ports into modern ones with infrastructure such as good access roads, a deeper draught that can accommodate larger vessels.

“Don’t be surprised that these ports have been automated. They have automated their processes.

“While these countries can take a vessel with 16 meters draught, none of the Nigerian seaports can accommodate such vessel due to the nation’s shallow draught that is not more than 13 meters.

“That is to tell you the level of seriousness and investments these people have committed to their ports.”

The Vice President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, speaking in a similar vein,  lamented that the nation’s second-largest revenue earner, after oil, was left to wallop in such a sorry state with dilapidated infrastructure.

According to him, there are too many factors that are drawing the sector backward, ranging from bad access roads to the ports, to high shipping costs, shallow water draft at seaports.

“There are too many issues responsible for the setback. The government does not have either the political will or is not serious about implementing those good policies. You should expect that before the end of this year, we are going to have more than 40 percent drop in cargo coming to Nigerian ports”.

“The neighbouring countries, such as Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo are rapidly developing their seaports while  Nigeria is currently losing grip of the shipping economy due to abandonment of the sector, which is the second revenue earner for the government after oil,” he noted.

The National President, National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said the neighbouring ports have already positioned their ports as millennium ports, preferred, transshipment or load center, adding that most West African ports built their ports to accommodate Nigerian- bound cargo, knowing about the country’s poor infrastructure.

He identified the neighbouring ports, which have either completed their deep-sea projects or near completion at Cotonou, Benin Republic, Lome, Togo, Accra, Ghana and Cameroun.

He called on the Federal Government to wake up by designing the concept of a deep-sea/ transshipment center to accommodate large E-Class vessels/mega-ships of 8000- 20000 TEUs, that are currently demanded regionally and globally, which is the only solution to the diversion of goods to neighbouring ports.

He advised that with international best practices, Nigeria must design the National Guarantee system to cover the payment of import duty taxes at the time of transit; Custom Seal that ensures the physical integrity of the goods while in transit, making sure that the goods start and exit the transit in its original state; Implement electronic tracking system enabling Customs to track and locate transit vehicles and guide intervention force including Customs staff; a document system to enable transit document issued at the start of Transit journey to be accepted by transport and Custom authority along with transit.

Amiwero identified an inefficient port system as to why the country lost the transshipment hub status to other West African countries.

 He said except there is a change in infrastructure rehabilitation, Nigeria will continue to lose cargoes to neighbouring countries, which have deep seaports and better facilities.
The freight forwarder lamented that Nigerian ports cannot accommodate mega-ships with 8000-20000 TEUs, arguing that this was against the trend in neighbouring ports.

He said the Federal government needs to address the unwholesome practices of manipulated delays by providers of shipping services and other government agencies, leading to high demurrage, rent, and high transactional costs.

Amiwero stated that such practices are inimical to the efficiency of the port system, adding that such issues against Nigerian ports need to be addressed for the sake of the national economy.

“There is need to reclaim our cargo from neighboring West African countries that are now a hub for Nigeria cargos, by working out a mechanism for a better developed regional hub to consolidate on our destination of Nigerian cargo that has been siphoned by regional ports,” he advised.

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Freight Monitor

President Buhari to commission multi-billion naira Dala Inland dry port Monday –Ahmad Rabiu

The Eyewitness reporter
All is set for the commissioning of the Dala International inland dry port on Monday 31st January 2023 by President Muhammad Buhari at Zawachiki in Kumbotso local government area of Kano state.
The Managing Director of the international inland dry port Ahmad Rabiu, stated this while addressing newsmen on the preparation for the inauguration of the port at its headquarters in Kano.
Ahmad Rabiu, who was joined by the chairman of the inland dry port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro, said its the first international inland dry port where cargoes will go anywhere in the world from Kano state without follow up to any sea ports across Nigeria.
Ahmad Rabiu told newsmen that the federal government under President Muhammad Buhari has given all the support required for the take-up, noting that they have met the requirement on infrastructure and other critical amenities.
The MD said the stacking area has the capacity of containing 20 thousand units of containers before moving anywhere at any time, noting that the area covers six hectares of land and the management is willing to add more.
According to Ahmad Rabiu, all the requirements needed for clearance by businessmen, and customs duty will be done right from Kano without follow-up to any seaport in Nigeria.
On his part, the chairman of Dala Inland Dry Port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro said the management of the port is prepared technically, and physically with interested partners and is going to boost businesses in Kano, Nigeria and Africa in general and urged members of the press to partner with the management in ensuring efficiency, emphasizing that the place is not a monument but a business venture.
The chairman said Dala Inland Dry Port is now a solution to the problems brought about by the seaports and they will introduce cargo tracking and door-to-door delivery of goods and services.
He said the success of the inland dry port is a joint venture between the state government, the business community, regulatory agencies and the Federal Government of Nigeria and to make business in Kano and its neighborhood more competitive.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN rejects re-appointment bid of ousted Sam Nwakohu

Ousted CRFFN Registrar, Nwakohu
— appoints Uromta as Acting Registrar
—-shops for substantive Registrar.
The Eyewitness reporter
The Council for the Registration of Freight forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) has thrown out the re-election bid of the outgoing Registrar of the Council, Sam Nwakohu.
In an emergency meeting of the council Thursday at its Abuja liaison office, the Council appointed Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, the Director of Regulations and Enforcement, as an acting Registrar pending the time a substantive registrar will be appointed.
The decision of the council to reject the reelection bid of the ousted Registrar was based on the recommendations of its ad hoc committee to look into the request of Nwakohu for a second term tenure.
The outgoing registrar, last year, at the December meeting of the council, submitted a letter, requesting to be considered for a second term shot at the lucrative position.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni set up an ad-hoc committee, headed by Efeanyi Isikaku, to look into the request of Nwakohu and submit its report in two weeks.
“Following the completion of its assignment and submission of its report, the council, therefore, convened today (Thursday)in Abuja to deliberate on the next line of action to be taken in respect of the committee’s recommendations.
” The AdHoc committee made important recommendations with reference to the provisions of Public Service Rules as well as the council’s Act.
“The committee however, recommended that in order to avoid a vacuum after the expiration of the Registrar’s tenure, the council shall start making arrangements for a handover of the Registrar’s office to the most senior management staff of the council.
“Similarly, the committee also recommended that the Appointment Promotion and Discipline committee of the council be directed to start making preparations for reappointment or appointment of substantive Registrar”  Muftahu Ya’u, the chairman Committee on Media and Publicity of the governing council,  declared in a statement he sent to our reporter.
 “Finally, the council’s chairman soon after the adoption, approval, and ratification of the committee’s recommendations by members of the council directed the followings:
that arrangement for the Registrar’s handover to Mrs. Chinyere Uromta  Director, Regulations and Enforcement on 31st of January 2023.
“That committee on Appointment Promotion and Discipline go ahead to start preparations for reappointment/appointment of a new Registrar” the head of media and publicity of the council concluded.
It could be recalled that soon after Nwakohu made his ambition known to succeed himself as the Registrar of the council, he went on a lobbying spree, trying to woo the council members to buy into his ambition.
But sources close to the council whispered to our reporter that the second term bid of Nwakohu was dead on arrival due to lots of baggage he carries.
“There was no way he could have succeeded in his obnoxious bid to succeed himself.
Firstly, it was a general consensus among the freight forwarding confraternity that Nwakohu failed woefully as the registrar.
“He is incompetent, arrogant and someone not ready to learn,” a highly placed source said.
“Also, several allegations of financial sleaze against him have not been cleared.
“Similarly, the council members were not happy at the way Nwakohu handled the purchase of the CRFFN Abuja liaison office which cost they felt was inflated.
“All these and other uncharitable behavior of the outgoing registrar are enough reasons not to reappoint him as the Council registrar” the source claimed.
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Headlines

Transportation ministry inaugurates project committee for Ondo, Benin seaports

 

The Eyewitness reporter
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, has inaugurated
a Project Steering Committee for the proposed Ondo Deep & Benin Seaports.
Dr. Magdalene Ajani, while inaugurating the Committee on behalf of the Nigerian government at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja Wednesday,  stated that the Committee is saddled with providing guidance and direction on the projects.
She also charged the members of the committee to also facilitate necessary permits, clearance & approvals for the projects.
The permanent secretary said it is also the responsibility of the committee to prepare the transaction for the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Muazu Sambo, to obtain the approval of tte Federal Executive Council.
She charged them to hit the ground running immediately.
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