- Cargo Evacuation: Transport Minister canvasses barge operations for Lekki Port
Shipping experts have blamed the Federal Government for the plethora of challenges that have emerged at the nation’s seaports since the concession of port terminals took place in 2006.
This position was echoed by the guest speaker, panelists and other maritime industry stakeholders at the 34th Anniversary and Awards of Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN), which held in Lagos, yesterday.
According to the transport veterans, some of the government flaws in the nation’s port concession exercise include; absence of intermodal transport system for evacuation of cargoes, dilapidated access roads, insufficient legal framework for post-concession regulation, exclusion of industry stakeholders from initial concession exercise, decaying port infrastructure, among others.
While delivering the lead paper, a former Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello made these observations, even as he as asserted that port concession has brought more gains than challenges to Nigerian ports.
Also speaking at the event themed, “16 Years of Port Concession: The Pains and The Gains,” Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo described the Port Community System as a platform that would enhance the ease of doing business at the nation’s ports.
Sambo also noted that the over 8,000 maritime workers retrenched following the port concession exercise have all been paid their severance package.
On the possibility of gruesome traffic congestion emerging at the Lekki Deep Seaport, the Minister posited that there is no need to have replica of Apapa port as barge operations should be prioritized for the evacuation of cargoes from the port.
“I have instructed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure no movement of cargoes by road from Lekki Deep Seaport. Barge operations should be the prioritized mode for cargo evacuation and this will expand opportunities for investments in barging,” the Minister said.
Earlier, a former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Ade Dosunmu, opined that the theme of the event was apt and he applauded MARAN for its contributions to the maritime sector over the years.
Dosunmu, however, called for more training of journalists in the sector, adding that the maritime domain will be a better one when the reporters are knowledgeable in core aspects of the sector.
The event was well-attended by maritime sector bigwigs including; the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR; Managing Director, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel; President-General of Maritime Worker’s Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Prince Adewale Adeyanju; a former Executive Director, Finance and Administration at NPA, Mr. Olumide Oduntan; Spokesperson for the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria and Chief Executive of Ships&Ports, Dr. Bolaji Akinola; among others.