The Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello has said that the nation’s seaports have become very efficient and are capable of handling regional and international transit trade.
Bello told newsmen in Abuja that the ports had greatly improved compared to what obtained before they were concessioned to private terminal operators in 2006.
He also commended the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) for removing physical and other barriers hindering prompt cargo clearance at the ports.
“About six years ago Nigerian ports was not efficient, there were so much delays and barriers but now everything is okay. Nigerian ports are very efficient. Nigeria Customs have removed physical and other barriers on transit trade,” he said.
He disclosed that the Federal Government was trying to resolve challenges to enable other countries transit their cargoes through Nigeria which would be of great advantage to the economy.
A delegation made up of shippers and businessmen from the Republic of Niger led by the Director-General of the Shippers Council of the Republic of Niger, Oumarou Issoufou toured the nation’s seaports last week to work out modalities for the use on Nigerian ports for the transit of their cargoes to the landlocked country.
Issoufou said he was highly impressed with the level of efficiency and standards at the various terminals even as he expressed belief that Nigerian ports offer better comparative advantage for his country in comparison to other ports in the sub-region.
It would be recalled that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Director-General, Benjamin Dikki recently praised terminal operators at the seaports for improving their terminals with world-class equipment.
Dogara spoke at a conference organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and International Maritime Exhibition and Conference (IMEC) in Lagos.
Represented by the House Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Pally Iriase, the Speaker said the 2006 port concession had brought tremendous benefits to the economy.
He said the average turnaround time of vessels has also reduced significantly.
“Since the concession agreement in 2006 till date, terminal operators have recorded some achievements as evidenced by the injection of funds for the provision of port infrastructure and equipment,” he said.
He listed the achievements, as “seaside operation, which has drastically reduced the vessel turnaround time at our ports, the perimeter fencing of all the terminals in compliance with ISPS Code and improved security of cargoes at terminals among others”.
Dikki also said the positive impact of port concession could not be overemphasised.
“Anybody, who has seen the port in 2006 and goes round the port today, will know that the concessionaires have made investment that ordinarily, a government cannot bring out from his budgetary allocations to support,” he said.
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