By Babajide Okeowo
Comptroller Timi Bomodi, the Customs Area Controller, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Command has bemoaned the under-utilization of the potential at the Terminal in a bid to take off pressure from the Apapa and Tincan Island Ports as it has done in the past.
He raised this concern when he hosted the newly elected executives of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) recently.
He noted that the KLT, though capable of handling 4000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) functions at lower than 10 percent of its full capacity as a result of underutilization of its potential.
Comptroller Bomodi argued that the KLT offers more opportunities in terms of space, proximity, and access to the port for the facilitation of export and import from the seaports in Lagos.
“KLT is the most strategic port in dealing with congestion, KLT can function as a valve in easing the pressure on Apapa and Tincan ports. KLT has a lot of underutilized space and offers more access for cargo to come in and go out of the ports.
“KLT is functioning less than 10 percent of its capacity of 4,000 TEUs. It is not good the underutilisation of such a vital national asset which can play a crucial role in the promotion of export in the country.
“We have been telling the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and terminal operators that we need to move cargo here. Hopefully, Shipping companies will see the wisdom in bringing their cargo here. It makes a lot of economic sense.
“KLT offers capacity for the Nigeria Customs Service to generate more revenue at this time the nation needs revenue,” Bomodi added.
Bomodi also bemoaned the nation’s low ranking in export despite the country being endowed with products and produce that are in high demand outside its shores.
According to Bomodi, the export potential of Nigeria is huge, but the country lacks information, data, an internal logistics system, payment platforms, and other infrastructure that can help her achieve this.
Continuing, he regretted that importers and exporters face a lot of challenges because of infrastructure decay in and around the ports.
“For export to thrive, Nigerians need information on goods to export. But there is a lack of information; the internal logistics system is not efficient.
“Payment platforms are not in existence. Export potentials are huge in Nigeria but where is the infrastructure to support it?” asked Bomodi rhetorically.
He congratulated MARAN on the success of its election, stating that MARAN members have displayed a high level of integrity in their reports.