Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Genesis Worldwide Shipping, Capt Emmanuel Iheanacho, has called on the Federal Government to set up a commission to tackle challenges facing the Nigerian seaports.
Iheanacho, a master mariner, made this call in Lagos at a roundtable forum organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN).
He also suggested that a special committee be set up to look into redesigning the general layout of the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports as cargoes coming in are more than the available infrastructures.
He said that the commission should cut across all port operators including shipping companies, regulators, customs, immigration among others.
Iheanacho, warned that if the challenges were not addressed, tank farm operators might begin to have challenges in distribution of fuel across the country.
According to him, such commission should also be assisted with the empirical data on cargo throughput assumptions when the ports were constructed several years ago.
He noted that the traffic situation on port access roads was abysmally bad, adding that the ports had been choked.
According to him, there is a deficit in terms of roads and traffic that goes into and out of the ports.
Iheanacho stressed that without free movement of cargoes, the Nigerian economy would suffer.
He added that if goods were cleared within 24 hours without good roads there was no way Nigerian ports could become a hub.
He warned that there would be an adverse effect on Nigerian economy if the Nigerian ports are not working efficiently.
The chairman said: “The roads were built so many years ago in relations to the traffic size, the traffic has since increased and there is need for policy planners to make adequate provisions for roads for various trucks. The problem has to do with the fact that we have not seen investment in infrastructures like roads.
“It would not be a bad idea if we have people who are forward looking to look at the possibility of acquiring some of these building, knock them down and develop additional infrastructure by way of truck parks and access roads and the problem would be solved.”