The saying that action speaks louder than words cannot obviously be ascribed to the Maritime sector because of its snail speed at implementing its policies.
The year 2014 witnessed a series of seminars, conferences, summits, workshops etc. events aimed at improving the lot of the sector and overcoming its numerous challenges but, no tangible result was recorded because no tangible action was taken.
At these events last year, solutions to the problems of the sector and groundwork for the way forward were propounded. Some of these of solutions were far-fetched, impracticable at least for the time being but others were very realistic and achievable.
Major stakeholders both in the public and private arms of the sector graced these events and contributed to the hypothetical panacea to the numerous challenges facing the sector.
Some organizations within the sector even went out of their way to bring in experts from other countries to make sure that the best solutions are proffered for these challenges and also to ensure that all the problems are given concise considerations.
But looking at the Maritime sector, can one honestly say that there has been even a slight change? One would think that all these events would have at least even resulted into a minimal progressive change, but from the look of things, there is none.
The problems are still here: The rift between the terminal operators and freight forwarders, customs and importers, shipping lines and Shippers’ Council, and the almighty Apapa gridlock that have made logistic experts look ordinary. There are also the problems of PAAR, the ISPS code, the Sabotage and some very strategic policies yet to be passed by the Government.
When will Nigerians see an end to all these problems? Most of them have lingered for years without any definite action being taken to minimize their effect. It has always been talks, empty talks, vain promises that have amounted to nothing.
There has been too much talk and very little action. Nigerians are tired of words that do not translate to actions. We need improved port operations for smooth and effective business transaction. We need to make our ports appealing to investors. All these can only come when words are put into actions.
Another year 2015 is here, Nigerian are hoping that concrete actions will be taking by everyone involved to alleviate these bottlenecks hampering the growth of the maritime sector and chart a viable course for the benefit of all.
This is a call to action, a call to rise against these challenges with progressive and definite actions.