Infrastructure Deficit Responsible For High Cost Of Doing Business In Ports – Bello
The Executive Secretary Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has blamed the high cost of doing business in the country on failure of Infrastructure
Speaking during a routine visit to some shipping companies in Apapa, Bello explained that the high cost of doing business in the country have not been as a result of increase in charges by providers of shipping companies, but as a result of disruption and distortion by failed infrastructure.
Bello admitted that though the roads are not in good condition, the government is doing everything possible to remove the bottlenecks hindering the ease of doing business at the ports.
“We know there are 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 or 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 government is doing 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”
The NSC boss informed 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 first quarter of 2021, we are introducing four cardinal things, we want 24 hour- port operations . Our ports operate within limited time that means 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 everytime our ports will work just like the airport.
He said the construction of the railway to Apapa port to evacuate most of the Cargoes will give the truckers a run for their money, adding that the barge operation for delivery evacuation has also helped in no small measure, which is why there is 20 percent congestion at the sea side .
“We know it is tough, we know people are complaining but please bear with us, this is the time of construction and you have to bear some pains if you want things to be alright.” he said.
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 adequate presentation to that effect”
Speaking on why the council decided to have a routine visit to the shipping companies, he said the visit is to ensure that Nigerians remain unperturbed during the peak period.
“This is December, it’s supposed to be peak period in Nigeria ,the ports are extended and we are moving round to see that Nigeria is not bothered so much about delivery of cargo during this time so we are going to the shipping companies and terminals to make sure that the processes are quick as they could be”
On the compliance level of one of the Shipping companies (CMA CGM), Bello noted that CMA CGM have been able to reach a 63 percent digital compliance level but however seeks a 90 percent compliance level by the end of first quarter next year.
“We know that there are challenges, for example CMA CGM we have examined and have seen that they are 63 percent digital compliance but we want that to be 85 to 90 percent compliance in first quarter,” he stated.