The Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello said on Wednesday in Lagos that the nation’s Inland Container Depots (ICDs) would begin operation soon.
Bello said the operation of the ICDs would go a long way in decongesting the access roads to the ports in Lagos as well as enhance cargo delivery.
He said that if 70 per cent of the cargo were taken off-dock for examination, they would be delivered at the door steps of their owners in time.
“If 70 per cent of the cargo in the ports is taken off-dock for examination, then there would not be congestion either at the ports – that is – at the terminals or the roads leading to them.
“This is because you would have taken the trucks off the road; you would have minimised human contact and the ocean economy that we have had in the seaports would be replicated in the hinterland where these ports are located.
“It is important to note that this would also reduce the transport cost; all the trucks from Kano, Funtua, Aba, Ibadan coming to Lagos to convey cargo would not come because they have already got their ports.
“This is bringing shipping to the door steps of internal shippers and reducing congestion and boosting the economy of those places where these ports are sited,” he said.
The executive secretary said that Nigeria had an advantage in transit trade which had to do with the movement of cargo to neighbouring countries such as Republic of Niger and Chad.
According to him, the distance will further be shortened if people from Republic of Niger are to take their cargo from Funtua or Kano, instead of the Apapa port.
Bello said that the council was working closely with some state governments to ensure that the ICDs projects were completed.
“As a council, we have worked with various state governments where these inland ports are located.
“For example for the Kaduna Inland Ports, we have worked with Kaduna State Government on the improvement of the ports.
“Physical infrastructure and the general support and the Kaduna State Government has assisted tremendously in making the Kaduna dry port a reality.
“There are still some works to be done and we have started working with the new government to see that the purpose of which the inland port is situated is realised.
“Our work is to have oversight function over the ports – regulatory oversight in the sense that we are interested in the tariff. We are interested in the efficiency of these ports.
“These ports must be efficient. They must invest. That is, they have to have adequate equipment and business entrepreneurship for them to clear their cargo.
“It’s not just they are inland. We have to be weary of access to these ports and we are talking with state governments to have more access to these ports.
“We are also talking about the ease of doing business at these terminals and also the cost,” Bello said.
He said that the council had already informed concessionaires of ICDs to be ready to put in place the needed logistics for the start of the projects.
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