Business

Infrastructure deficit rattles maritime sector stakeholders

HUB

The system cannot be a maritime hub simply by moving goods from the ports into the hinterlands

 

The continous and increased dilapidation in infrastructure in the country’s maritime space has rattled major stakeholders, including the port landlord.

 

The unavailability of operational equipment and failure of those in charge to make provisions have slowed the country’s shipping business, partially culminating in importers preferring ports in neighbouring countries for their businesses.

 

Reacting to the development, the management of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) decried the general infrastructure gap.

 

Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr Emmanuel Jime, explained that the reality was that the country was not anywhere near the level it should be in order to deliver on its infrastructure.

 

The executive secretary disclosed this when the presidents of shippers’ association in Jos, Benue, Niger and Kogi states visited him in Abuja.

 

According to him, there is infrastructure gap in the country’s maritime domain, noting that inter-modal means of transportation in the waterways, railway, and road network had deficit.

 

Jime said that it was the responsibility of the council to create awareness on the problems faced by the shippers, saying that the council would continue to make sure government was aware of infrastructure gap and the need to be addressed.
On re-establishment of NSC offices in Benue and Minna, he assured the shippers that plans were already underway to ensure their establishment.

 

The executive secretary stressed that NSC had been working and would continue to ensure moderation in the cost of shipping business in the country to ensure growth and competitiveness.

 

Also, Jime noted that NSC was building border information centers that would be equipped to provide necessary information for shippers among other things.

 

He added: “We are interfacing with the international community, so we have a responsibility of making sure that Nigerian shippers are able to stand up against the exploitative tendencies of international shipping companies. We are putting in place measures that will enforce compliance and make sure everybody is playing by the rules.

 

“We are trying to make Nigeria be the maritime hub of West Africa; we cannot be a maritime hub simply by moving goods from the ports into the inter-lands of Nigeria. We have to dominate and control trade within our sub-region.

 

“How are we going to carry goods from our seaport to Niger if we do not have the railway line leading into Niger? From Niger, you can move to Mali and other parts of the world, that is why that rail is important.”

 

Also, the President of Benue Shippers Association, Mr Potter Yakubu, prayed the NSC boss to reinstate the council’s Benue Area Office and establish an inland container depot in Makurdi.

He said: “It is indeed sad to note that the closure of the Benue Area Office of your Council dealt a debilitating and frustrating blow to our concerted efforts export drive.

 

“We wish to emphasise the comparative advantage Benue State has over several other states in terms of connectivity; roads, rail line, airport and the second largest river in the country, whose name the state bears.”

 

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