A former Head of State, Retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Monday called for intermodal transportation system to improve cargo evacuation and the overall efficiency of the country’s ports.
Abubakar made the call at the first regional conference of the International African Ports and Harbour (IAPH) with the theme “African Ports and Hinterland Connectivity,” in Abuja.
Abubakar, who chaired the conference, said ports investors should tap the opportunities in connecting the ports with the hinterlands through various means of transportation.
“We can now imagine African potential if there are visible means of transportation connecting the entire countries.
“There is need for the development of the supply chains for the hinterlands through optimal utilisation of the rail, road and waterways as viable mechanisms for conveying cargoes to various locations.
“African countries should also include the strategy of hinterland connectivity in their ports’ master plans in order to ensure seamless evacuation of cargoes at the ports, ” Abubakar said.
He stressed the need to improve the movement of cargoes to various destinations to remove the existing gridlock on ports’ access roads.
The former head of state added that funding was paramount in achieving the main objective of hinterland connectivity.
He urged participants to come out with innovative strategies and practical methods that would facilitate the efficiency of hinterland connectivity.
In his goodwill message, the Olu of Warri, Ogiamen Ikenwoli, said the movement of cargoes through rivers and sea was the bedrock of industrial development and rapid growth.
He commended the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, for making Niger/Delta rivers vibrant, and appreciated the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for working to improve hinterland connectivity.
The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, who was represented by Chief Nurudeen Agoro, the Ojomu of Lagos, urged government to decongest the port access roads, which he said extended to major roads in Lagos.
Akiolu said the constant traffic logjam on Lagos roads had affected the business operations of the city.
The traditional ruler urged government to improve on the interland connectivity in order to stop the gridlock caused by trailers parking on the highways.