*Investors in national fleet to get CVFF
Concessionaires of the Inland Container Depots(ICDs) and Container Freight Stations(CFSs), called dry port risk outright revocation of their licences if they fail to submit their new agreement this week to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council(NSC).
The Federal Government had through the NSC issued a new agreement to the concessionaires to sign and return under two weeks, in a renewed move to ensure that the dry port projects, which have been stagnated for over 13 years are completed and made operational nationwide.
Consequently, they have been called for another meeting at the headquarters of NSC to ensure compliance in line with the directive of the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who has shown serious discomfort with the near failure stages of the projects.
Some of the dry port concessionaires who spoke with MMS Plus had agreed to sign the new agreement which has the clause of job delivery within 2017. It is feared, however, that some of them might as well lose the project because of varying issues arising from their states of location.
Already, some have blamed their inability to perform not only on sourcing technical partners, funds, political vagaries, frequent leadership changes at the Federal Ministry of Transport, but stated that the
current Minister of Transport has declined to grant them special status of port of origin and that of destination.
The Chief Executive Officer of Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited, in Kano State, Mallam Ahmed Rabiu in an interview with MMS Plus said that all was set for work to commence at the port but Amaechi had declined to grant them the needed privilege. This further raised the question by observers on whether if this was what had been delaying the project for 13 years now, and why were other Ministers not approached for the same reason.
In Ibadan, Oyo State, Catamaran Logistics Limited, operators of Ibadan ICD, may have lost their project location on account of delay and internal political and personality squabbles and so may lose their licence soon. The company’s managing director, Mr. Lai Are had told MMS Plus that “ We have agreed in principle with the provisions of the agreement.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has, at last, resolved to fund the emerging new national shipping fleet with a part of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund(CVFF) proceed.
The Director –General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with MMS Plus stated that the proceed would be disbursed to support the indigenous operators who will be investing in the 60 percent equity holding earmarked for local players and investors in the national fleet. The Pacific International Line(PIL) of Singapore had taken 40 percent stake in the new shipping fleet, as technical partner.
However, the amount or percentage of the CVFF financial support has not been determined, Dakuku said.
In what sounded rather amusing to logistics and transport professionals, last week, the Senate directed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, to carry out feasibility studies on the establishment of dry ports in the country.This was after the Senate had called on the federal government to ensure that dry ports were established urgently in Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Maiduguri, Bauchi and states that are landlocked as a way of accelerating trade and industry.The Senate was of the view that the feasibility studies earlier carried out on the projects should be revisited.The Senate directed its Committees on Transport and Works to ensure that the directive is fully followed.The decision of the Senate followed a motion by Senator Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North) on the ‘Need for the Establishment of Dry and Inland Ports at Onitsha, Enugu and other Land-locked States”.Oduah had argued that establishment of the dry ports will help facilitate commercial and industrial activities, including export and importation of raw materials and equipment for land-locked states.She said that present ports in Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt have been over-stretched, arguing that the situation has become a security risk to lives and property.Following this, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki mandated the two committees to ensure that the federal government gives attention to the establishment of the dry ports in the areas that are land-locked.