Maritime experts have identified automation as a major factor that could enhance Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Nigeria’s blue economy, even as technology could be utilized to tackle the menace of abandoned cargoes at Nigerian ports.
These were some of the central idea explored by maritime stakeholders at the 3rd JournalNG Port Industry Town Hall meeting in Apapa, yesterday.
According to the participants, automation could play a key role in removing human interference in several operations at port, thereby simplifying port processes and enhancing the ease of doing business at the nation’s ports.
Corroborating this idea, the Area Controller of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Timi Bomodi warned that the nation’s blue economy won’t attract FDIs without adequate data to guide investors.
Bomodi argued that automated processes and technology could be utilized in addressing the dire need for relevant data on various aspects of the sector which makes it easier for investors to understand the terrain.
He identified fishing trawler operations in the country as a sub-sector requires optimum regulation and adequate data to guide the regulators, operators, government policies as well as spur FDIs.
While stating that the Customs online portal, Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) II, allows for integration of other agencies, he maintained that blue economy should be explored as an ecosystem that leverages technology.
Meanwhile, the Founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam observed that automated processes of port agencies are fragmented.
Aniebonam, who was represented by the Registrar, NAGAFF Academy, Mr. Francis Omotosho observed that even the popular Customs Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation system and NPA’s electronic truck call-up system are fraught with the challenge of human interference.
The veteran freight forwarder suggested that technology could be utilized to alert Customs of overtime cargoes after 28 days at ports, thereby positioning the Service to expedite the evacuation of such cargoes.
On his part, the Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi advised that already established technological processes should be improved upon.
He also lamented that truck owners are equally being vilified when their trucks are seized along with consignments intercepted by Customs and other security agencies.
Earlier, the Publisher of JournalNG and convener of the conference, Mr. Ismail Aniemu observed that technology has become part of daily life and automation has also become the norm.
His words: “Even when we try to shy away from it, the mobile devices we go about with uses artificial intelligence, robotics and other forms of technology to impact our lives.
“There is a fear that technology will change the entire way we live our lives, but even if we don’t discuss it these are issues that we have to contend with.”