The decision of heads of maritime agencies in Nigeria to work on modalities for a quick commencement of multimodal transport connectivity and 24 hours operation at the ports, has elicited excitement and commendation among industry stakeholders.
Following the second monthly meeting by Chief Executives of maritime agencies, the place of intermodal transport was itemized as a priority for cargo evacuation at the nation’s ports.
Reacting to this development, the President of Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Mr. Frank Ogunojemite said it was “exciting and commendable”
“We can already see what the maritime CEOs can achieved with unity. Although, this is an issue that most of them have itemized individually, the fact that they have agreed to work on a modality to address it is commendable,” he said.
According to the APFFLON boss, the maritime CEOs have equally taken a step in the right direction with plans to engage the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Engr. Forget Okhiria in a bid to ensure all agencies work in sync to provide multiple alternatives for cargo evacuation at the ports.
“Recall that the NRC Lagos District Manager, Mr. Jerry Oche recently said that cargoes are now being moved from Lagos to Kano via the rail. So, this shows that NRC are already doing something in this regard and it would be more result driven if Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), among others are involved to show where the challenges are and how to resolve them,” Ogunojemite said.
He told MMS Plus that freight forwarders would be delighted to have the Maritime CEOs address the myriad of challenges at the nation’s ports with cargo evacuation recognized as one of the biggest challenges.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday, while briefing the media after the second edition of the monthly meeting of heads of maritime parastatals which held at the NIMASA headquarters.
Jamoh also noted that the issues discussed at the meeting centered on maritime safety and security, port efficiency, intermodal transportation, as well as synergy among agencies in the sector.
The NIMASA boss described the forum of CEOs as one that availed the agencies in the maritime industry a platform to grow and contribute more to Nigeria’s economic development.
Jamoh also stated that the heads of agencies agreed to play their respective roles to facilitate the operation of 24 hours hours a day, seven days a week port services, noting that this would help decongest the ports and tremendously impact on the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Federal Government. .
“We are looking at the workability of 24-hour port services to ease the pressure on our ports in terms of congestion. We also agreed to work with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on how movement of cargoes from the ports can be done by rail to reduce the pressure on our roads.”
“Our focus is also to ensure containers are moved by barges to dry ports outside the port environments. All these would help in the efficiency and effectiveness of our ports,” he said.
Also speaking at the session, Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, also emphasised the need for intermodal transport system in and around the port environments.
Usman stressed that Nigeria must prioritise intermodal transportation to reap the benefits of shipping and port activities.
She said the heads of maritime agencies agreed to work with the NRC to facilitate movement of cargoes from the ports by rail.
The monthly meeting was also attended by the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA); Dr. George Moghalu, Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Barr. Sam Nwakohu; and Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Commodore Duja Emma Effedua (rtd) joined via zoom.