Saturday, September 25, 2021

Poor Infrastructure, Others Undermining Dry Port Operations – Stakeholders

ACCI
The president, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar (2nd from right) and the representative of the Nigeria Shippers Council, Mrs. Rakiya Nuhu flanked by other participants at a public private dialogue in Abuja.

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s dry port export sector have listed multiplicity of agencies, poor infrastructure and bureaucratic challenges in the processing of approvals for export as major challenges undermining operations at the ports across the country,

They made the assertion at the unveiling of study report on the operation of dry ports in Nigeria organized by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), saying exporters were losing multi-billion naira annually due to delay at the port.

The study report had listed several challenges militating against deployment of dry ports in the logistic chain, calling for urgent intervention to address critical weaknesses in the export chain business within the context of the African continental free trade zone (AfCFTA).

In his remarks, the ACCI president, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar said all hands must be on deck to ease the burden of export if the country was to expand her revenue earnings and meet the demands of new continental free trade regime.

Linking the achievement of huge export trade volume to strong hinter-land logistics like ports and rail, he said the dry ports report provided opportunities for all stakeholders to declare emergency in the export sub-sector because of the complicated nature of problems confronting exporters in the country.

He added that economic development was best escalated when multi-modal transportation model is the backbone of the economy, pointing out that that was the case in developed economy and even in a developing space as Nigeria. 

“This reality underpins the interest of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry to partner development organizations for the study and deployment of best practices and policies in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“As part of the ongoing processes, the Public Private Dialogue is a step further to intimate the relevant agencies of government and actors in the port space of the outcome of the assessment. Our goal is to sensitize the authorities to the critical importance of dry port as an expander and booster of hinterland economy. The gathering of several parties creates opportunities for considerations of best practices as Nigeria build up her networks of dry ports,” he said.

In her opening remarks, the ACCI director general, Victoria Akai, said the Nigerian logistic sector was undergoing extensive expansion across transport, and logistic modes and that with the country expanding its railways, ports, roads, airports and other infrastructures, dry port had emerged as a major focus along the logistic change, adding “creating necessary policy framework is therefore, a necessity and ACCI with her partners, is spearheading this move.

“A study has been conducted and conclusions have been reached. This is a major step towards creating a policy framework for the operation of dry port in Nigeria.” 

The executive secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime, said they were not unaware of the operational challenges of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which could be attested to through the various initiatives aimed at solving the problems, including a sensitization workshop which is on-going on in Kaduna to enlighten stakeholders. 

The ES represented by the deputy director, Abuja Liaison Office, Mrs. Rakiya Nuhu, said one of the major policy initiatives of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council was the development of inland dry port, pointing out that maritime infrastructure is the backbone of development and growth of the maritime sector and its sub-sectors in the littoral countries across the world.  

In his remarks, the managing director, Kaduna Inland Dry Port, Mr. Ismail Yusuf, said dry ports were normally considered for development at a location with various transport links such as highways, railways and inland waterways. 

The managing director who was represented by Mr. Chuka Offor, further said dry ports provide a range of services such as container handling and storage, container stripping and stuffing, break bulk cargo handling, customs inspection and clearance, container light repairs, freight forwarding and cargo consolidation services, inventory management and materials handling. 

Earlier, the representative of the German Development Agency (GIZ), Mr. Legborsi Nwiabu, said their partnership had taken them to a point where they were able to identify the challenges of dry ports in Nigeria thereby proffering solution on how to tackle it.

He said, they deliberately chose Kaduna Dry Port for the study while working on nine agricultural value chains in the Nigeria Competitive Project (NICOP) that gave them the understanding of the challenges of transportation as a hindrance to farmers.

A statement by the ACCI media/strategy officer, Olayemi John-Mensah, said the assessment study by ACCI was facilitated by GIZ, the European Union and others partners.

“The partners’ support in the transport and other sectors has tremendously assisted Nigeria to institute best practices in various sectors of her economy. We hope to proceed to partner further for the development of a national policy on dry port in Nigeria. This assessment report is an invaluable resource material for all stakeholders in the dry port sub-sector,” it added.

Oluchi Okorafor
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