70% vessels suffer 40-day delay at ports, expert laments

Nigerian ports suffer delays of over 40 days as a result of the cumulative COVID-19 lockdown in the country since March.

Ogboi spoke on Thursday, during a webinar agribusiness organised by the Africa CEO Forum, in partnership with the African Export-Import Bank.

The logistics expert stated that the $25,000 daily cost of the vessels at the ports, which amounts to a total of over $1m per vessel, was passed on to the consumers.

She said, “The lockdown caused a significant increase in cost. If we start all the way from the vessels in Nigeria, 70 per cent of vessels were delayed by more than 40 days. So, even though the imports did increase, there were massive delays.

“Now, what happens when the vessels need to pay $25,000 per day? Who is that cost passed on to? It’s passed on to the consumer. So, we’ve seen transportation costs go up. The delays on the borders in East Africa caused transit times to move from 24 hours to even up to three weeks as we saw two weeks ago.

“All of these are being passed on to the transportation costs, which is as high as 50-75 per cent of the cost of the goods.”

While noting that the rising cost of importation in agribusiness would ultimately make a case for local sourcing, she argued that the local market was not ready.

Ogboi added, “Is the local market ready? If the local market was ready, then it could have made a case for it. But, given that it wasn’t ready, the question is, once these lockdowns start to ease, will those costs persist?”

She also bemoaned the impact of the lockdown on interstate transportation of agricultural products.

The Lori Systems COO said, “For us, with regard to COVID, I think the challenge to our business is more as a result of lockdowns. That has impacted us significantly.

“There has been a lockdown on interstate movement. Of course, they’ve allowed essential goods, but it is difficult for the people to get to work.

“Even when the trucks are moving, there are delays at the border. At the ports, half of the staff are not available. When you want to load or offload your trucks, they are delayed.”

The logistics expert noted that the biggest hurdle for local sourcing in agribusiness was poor infrastructure and advised the Federal Government to fix the roads.

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