The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello has disclosed that the National Freight Information and Transportation Hub (NAFITH) a consultant of the International Financial Organisation (IFO), has embarked $40 million to build terminals and switch port processes to automation, in bid to decongest Apapa port traffic jam.
Bello revealed this while hosting the Association of Transport and Aviation Correspondent Abuja Chapter (ATACAC) on Wednesday in Abuja. He added that, the Council has already acquired land in Kogi and Enugu states for the project.
The CEO stated that the investment is to create terminals away from the port “so that people who don’t have any business being at the port will not come to the port, this will drastically reduce traffic at Apapa port. The standard is to accommodate 1500 trucks at the port, but right now the port is accommodating over 5,000 trucks causing traffic jam.
Bello noted that the key to efficient port management is Automation which discourages human contact making physical presence less important thereby reducing the number of people at the port as most of the works that now requires physical contact will be done electronically.
“If you go to the ports in developed countries, you will hardly come in contact with somebody because most of their cargo processes are done electronically, this explains why they don’t have traffic jam on the roads that leads to their ports” Bello explained.
He explained further that, the lands acquired by the Council in Kogi and Enugu State will be used to build truck centers where repairs will be carried out, servicing, accommodation and other recreational activities to make the parks economic centers.
Bello emphasized that “there is every need to put the country’s ports in good shape so that these ports will be able to compete with ports in the developed nations. For instance, ports are no place for cargo storage, but it takes many days for some cargo to be offloaded in Nigerian ports, making it look like a storage facility, a practice automation will end” he noted.
He stated that if the country’s ports are properly managed, they will contribute immensely to the nation’s GDP and also serve as economic drive that will create jobs for the growing population of youths in the country.
The Council was established in 1978 with the primary responsibility of protecting the interests of Nigerian Shippers. By this the Council is expected to do thorough provision of adequate and up-to date trade information to Nigerian importers and exporters as well as the international business and shipping community.