The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has been urged to develop a 100-year port development plan that will continue to respond to the dynamics of the industry and Nigeria’s growth aspirations.
President, Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron (AMANO), Emmanuel Maiguwa, in a letter applauding NPA for the relative sanity recorded on port access roads in Lagos, said the agency should take actions that would sustainably provide lasting solution, to traffic jams at the ports.
Maiguwa said: “I would like to encourage the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, to put in place at least a 100-year Port Development Plan that will continue to respond to the dynamic nature of our industry and Nigeria’s growth. This way, we can avoid getting back to where we have found ourselves,”
He said the multimodal system of deploying rail, road and water transport system for cargo evacuation should be developed to its full potential.
Commending the electronic call-up system introduced by NPA, Maiguwa said the agency should set up minimum standards for the trucks coming into the ports before they could access either the port or the trailer parking areas.
“This is because some of these trucks are worse than junkyard scraps. If they don’t meet minimum standards of operation, one wonders how they get loaded to transport goods. It is for this simple reason of unworthiness that they eventually break-down on their way out of port and cause congestion. This gap, if not addressed, would mess up the E-call up system. A stitch in time saves nine!” he said.
Maiguwa added: “I would like to state that trucks are not part of the critical port infrastructure needed to support ports operations. There will be a need to stay focused on building ports and auxiliary infrastructures through collaborative efforts. I am referring to rails, roads, inland waters-ways and the review of the ports modus operandi as follows includes: a system of Yard – Rail Vs Rail – Road should be developed to its full potential.
“A system of eliminating box clearing within the seaports and taking it entirely to the hinterlands should be incorporated. We don’t need customs loitering on our roads and seaports. It only aids corruption and promotes traffic chaos.
“As Lagos State and the NPA are coming together, it is time to consider roads concession, especially to support the Lekki Ports.
“A system of incentives on port fees suitable to operate coastal and inland container cargo vessel must be put in place so that shipowners can begin to look into owning freighters. This is because freighter vessels contribute more in creating dock labor employment than tankers, something we need to look at if we must continue to create jobs.”
“It is essential to remember that while Lagosian and Nigerians, in general, are taking heat from this traffic crisis, the shipping companies are applying charges accordingly, making the cost of material expensive to the end-user,” he stated.