As terminal operators in Nigeria’s seaports continue to invest massively in ports infrastructure to enhance efficiency, there are concerns that poor access roads may jeopardise the investments, if government does not take decisive action on the menace.
Stakeholders, who spoke in Lagos, said dilapidated access roads have remained a clog in the wheel of efficient ports operations due to prolonged traffic congestion.
Speaking on at the inauguration of the new equipment by Sifax Group, its Group Managing Director, Adekunle AbdulRazak Oyinloye, said the company has acquired equipment worth over $20million, but the roads will have to complement the port’s efficiency.
He said: “We are only hopping that very soon the obstruction caused by the bad road will be minimised so that efficiency can actually come to play. You could see by what we have demonstrated today that turn around at the port can only be optimised when you have good access roads. There is nothing we can do if the road does not get better. We are pleading with the Federal Government of Nigeria that whichever ways we can work together to make sure that the access roads to the ports are improved as soon as possible.”
Managing Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, John Jenkins, said there was a need to acquire the latest equipment in order to meet the architecture requirements of modern ship calling the terminal.He noted further that the company was already engaging several shipping lines to boost its clientele base.
Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, represented by Assistant General Manager, Operations, Aisha Ali Ibrahim, said the NPA has always supported laudable investment in the ports, adding that for any port to attain efficiency, it needs not only a good number of plants and equipment, but also quality and productive one.
She expressed optimism for better performance from the terminals in the years ahead, while urging other terminals to also invest more in the sector.
President, National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents, (NCMDCLA), Lucky Amiwero, said operators, particularly the indigenous ones must be encouraged, and urged government to fix the ports access roads to enhance operations and guarantee return on investment.He also urged the government to provide truck parks outside, and build a holding bay around the ports to reduce congestion on the roads.
Noting that the ports concession has not been fully optimised over the years, Amiwero said there are still some grey areas that should be looked into in the agreement.
“We need to design a law for concessions. We don’t have law for concession. We are just picking law from NPA, ICRC, BPE, so we have three laws that are midwifing the whole thing, so we need the government to really look at how we can pin down the port concession so that it would embody the operations we have in the ports now,” he said.
Managing Director, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Andrew Lynch, noted that the partnership with Ports and Cargo and MSC will be better forged with the acquisition of these equipment.For Norman Herzberg, Sales Manager, Africa, for Lierherr Group, his company is delighted to be the partner in the supply of some of these equipment, noting that the newly-acquired mobile shore cranes LHM 500 are the latest technologies with wider reach into the vessels, and can discharge faster effectively and efficiently.