By Babajide Okeowo
The Executive Secretary Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has laid the blame for the high cost of doing business in the country ports at the doorsteps of failed infrastructures.
Bello disclosed this during a routine visit to some shipping companies in Apapa.
“We know there are a lot of problems responsible for the high cost of doing business in Nigeria ports, but there is no formal increase by providers of shipping service neither the terminals, nor shipping companies nor even the government institutions have raised charges, but the charges we are having is as a result of disruption and distortion by the failure of infrastructure, the roads are just not good now, we admit but the government is doing a very serious thing about this.
If you look at the Oshodi -Tin Can Mile2 axis, you will see the level of work done so far that is a major road where we evacuate cargoes from the Port. Congestion was up to 30 days but now it is coming down to 20 days, so you see that things are happening” he disclosed.
Bello also disclosed that the council is introducing four cardinal solutions to the hiccups inhibiting the ease of doing business in ports, which includes 24- hour Port Operations, rail delivery among others.
“We want to make sure that by the first quarter of 2021, we are introducing four cardinal things, we want 24 hour- port operations. Our ports operate within a limited time which means a cargo will come and nobody will work on it. We are working with Customs, NPA, NIMASA, NIWA, and other agencies to make sure that 24-hour port operation will commence and this will mean that at every time our ports will work just like the airport” he added.
On the pace at which the construction of the port access road is going, Bello informed that the council will pressurise the Ministry of Works in ensuring the speedy delivery of the road, stressing that the road is essential to the ease of doing business in the country.
“We will ask the Federal Ministry of Works to look at the road as a special road and also facilitate the quick delivery of that road, that road is central, it’s essential and key so we want the construction to be fast-tracked and we will make an adequate presentation to that effect,” Bello said.