By Kenneth Jukpor
Seaport terminals have appealed to the federal government to speedily conclude the construction of port access roads, having identified the roads as the biggest challenge increasing the cost of doing business at Lagos ports.
The operators made this appeal when the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello led the Council for an inspection of some seaport terminals in Lagos, today.
During an interaction with NSC, the Managing Director of Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, Mr. John Jenkins argued that if the Tin Can Island Port access road works efficiently, the cost of doing business will reduce.
Jenkins also noted that the challenge of port access roads led to congestion inside the port terminal as the efforts to speedily evacuate cargoes are being hampered by the inaccessible roads where cargoes are trapped.
Meanwhile, the Ports&Cargo Managing Director posited that there is a need to increase terminal handling charges as cost of operations, salaries and other fees associated with port business have increased.
“We need to increase tariff because we haven’t done so in over nine years while the cost of operations have increased. Our workers are expecting an increase in salaries. The cost of fuel and other necessary costs have also increased,” Jenkins said.
Earlier, the NSC boss, Bello stressed that the Council isn’t adverse to an upward review of charges.
He, however, posited that any review should be reflected in service delivery and the procedures must be carried out in an orderly manner.
Bello commended Ports & Cargo Terminal for its improvement in automation, adding that the company should strive to attain a position where all its services will be online.
“All transactions should be done online. As an indigenous operator, we want you to be number one in digitization. When we had the last rating on automation, you scored 25 percent but we are happy that it’s 50 percent today. We encourage you to attain 70 percent in the next three weeks,” Bello said.
At Ports and Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML), Bello commended the management for attaining 90 percent automation of its services.
The NSC boss told the company that the next achievement should be 24/7 port operations, even though he noted that security issues, bank operations and poor lighting could affect 24 hours operations.
Noting that the company is rated 90 percent for automation and shippers have commended the terminal as the best for seamless online transactions, Bello encouraged the company maintain its enviable lead.
The Managing Director of PTML, Mr. Ascanio Russo also identified port access roads as the biggest challenge to its operations, noting that the terminal could evacuate over 1000 vehicles daily but the cargoes would remain stuck on the roads.
The NSC tour terminated at the CMA CGM shipping line where the Council also encouraged the company to be fully automated and service-driven.