By Frank Odinukaeze
The Federal Government has declared its readiness to improve transport infrastructure to enhance sustainable transport and logistics.
Minister of Transportation, Engr.Mu’azu Jaji Sambo stated this on Tuesday, in Lagos while declaring open the 2022 Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)conference with the theme “Sustainable Innovation In Logistics and Transport”.
Sambo, who was represented by the Director, Research and Statistics, Ibrahim Mohamed Biu, stated that the Federal Government, has made significant achievement through its ports reform programme aimed at decongesting the seaports, by taking shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters.
He said the recent Dala Inland Dry Port declaration as Port of Origin and Destination is a major milestone in that regard.
Sambo noted that the long standing relationship of the Ministry with the Institute has led to a large membership base within the Ministry and the Sector in general.
“As you may be aware, I began my life career in the Transportation Sector, (Precisely, August of 1984), and I have over the years observed CILT’s consistency in enhancing efficiency in the sector by developing the capacity of men and women in the art and science of Logistics, Transport and Supply Chain Management” he said.
He said the theme, “Sustainable Innovations in Global Logistics and Transport” reflects the current global trends in transportation.
He added that “The World is going green – engendering innovations to reduce the heavy dependence on fossil fuels the cause of high levels of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, reduce freight logistics turnaround time, noise pollution etc. There have been numerous innovations geared towards converting freight vehicles to use sustainable fuels, employing advanced information and communication technologies for more efficient logistics, implementing new organisational concepts in combination with innovative vehicles, combination of modes, such as rail, roads, and inland waterways to achieve optimum and sustainable use of resources”
He noted that the government is taking measures to ensure ease of doing business at the ports.
“There has been a massive shift for the connection of the rail, road and maritime subsector to reduce road traffic congestion and increase the competitive edge of the Transport and Logistics sector” he said.
He charged Transport Researchers and Transport Regulators to collaborate and develop innovative strategies that would aid in sustaining and developing the transportation sector.
“I am optimistic that CILT Nigeria will do well in passing its wealth of knowledge to effectively support the industry,” he stated
Meanwhile, in an interview with MMS Plus,Chief Teeter Owusi-Nortey, the current president of CILT global and the first African to occupy the seat since 1919, when the CILT was founded stated that the outlook for the transport sector in 2023 looks good.
He said transport is not just a vehicle that we know, stressing that it goes beyond that.
“When we talk of transport, we are talking about road, rail sea,logistics supply chain and waterways as well. So,if you look at all these modes,there are opportunities and there are challenges as well. If you combine the challenges and the opportunities, you will get somewhere.
“It is big a challenge looking at Russia/ Ukraine war,of which has affected all the modes of transportation. Look at shipment going out of Ukraine,as Ukraine is being responsible for some of our daily needs and all that, it ends up being a challenge. However, this is where logistics and supply chain come to play.
“So now, it becomes more relevant than before,such that as transporters, as professionals and logistics industry, this is where our knowledge ,our interest and our advises are being sought after,” he said, adding that “We are doing the best we can .We’ve been relevant even during the covid-19 time ,when we were all lockdown. That was when transport and logistics became more important .People saw the relevance,”he added.
Owusu- Norty blamed the Russian military for being a bane of the supply chain logistics.
He noted that this development has made transport and logistics even more relevant more than ever before.
Earlier in her welcome address the National President of the CILT Nigeria, Barr. Mfon Usoro, noted that this year’s conference keys into the global conversation about sustainability principles in how businesses, in particular, the logistics and transport sector are conducted.
Her words:”The conference literally has something for everyone, policy makers,legislators ,transport and logistics operators, academia ,lawyers and students.”
In his keynote address, the former managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority ( NPA), and Chairman,Fobat Properties Nigeria Limited, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, noted that the transport and logistics sector is currently undergoing major transformation given the trend of technological innovation. Technology he said, is changing our lives and the way we do things on a daily basis.
Sarumi said the next generation logistics management solutions are moving towards making the global supply chains more friendly oriented and sustainable.
“Automation in logistics processes brings about a significant increase in productivity and efficiency in the workflow. I believe views and ideas exchanged at this forum will streamline discussions on the current challenges of logistics and transport in the country while finding a lasting solution and recommending appropriate strategies to meet future needs,” he said
The former NPA boss noted that transport infrastructure remains germane to the promotion of economic growth, improved standard of living, poverty reduction, enhanced productivity and improved competitiveness.
“Nigeria is currently faced with huge infrastructural gaps that have hindered its desire to exploit her rich natural and human resources.
All the foregoing investments and deployment must combine to give a nation a high Logistics Performance Index (LPI).
“To achieve this, a comprehensive evaluation of the institutions and parties that drive and participate in the transportation value chain is required. Government institutions as well as private institutions and parties must key into a common agenda and demonstrate professional competencies; they must give proof of clear understanding of issues, show willingness and passion to perform synergistically and efficiently” he said.
He said the transport sector is diverse and complex, and therefore stressed, that infrastructure investments and policies need to be handled in an efficient and comprehensive manner
The former NPA MD noted that “The purpose of the CILT is to promote, encourage and co-ordinate the study, planning and advancement of the science and art of transport, logistics and supply chain operations in all their branches; to extend, increase, disseminate knowledge and exchange ideas and information; to assist and further in all practicable ways, the development and improvement of transport, logistics and supply chain operations in the higher interests of society”
Sarumi advised that CILT should make greater impact in transport policy formulation by canvassing for CILT membership to be made part of the qualifications for employment in the transport sector.
He called for the establishment of a Transport and Logistics Research Fund by the institute with the active collaboration and participation of private sector and government agencies.
The event which brought together policy makers,professionals ,the academia,captains of industry ,and industry stakeholders, amongst others.