The umbrella body of journalists covering the maritime industry in the country, the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) has identified the ills plaguing the industry.
Arising from a one day talk shop on the prospects and challenges of logistics service as the life wire of the Nigeria maritime industry at its International Press Centre (IPC), Apapa, Lagos, it said the over concentration of shipping operations in the western part of the country was detrimental to the development of the ones situated in the eastern part of the country.
It also identified insecurity, frequent attacks of vessels at the fairway buoys and kidnapping as key issues that hamper effective logistics in the country.
A communique issued at the end of the talk shop also decried the fact that the present ports in the country have become city ports, prompting it to call for designated areas for the construction of ports in the future.
Describing the event as an avenue to showcase the opportunities inherent in the sector with a view to highlighting them for the development of the sector, participants unanimously agreed that the importance of logistics in business organization cannot be overemphasized as it was the backbone of any economy.
According to it, logistics was vital to the economic development of the nation and as such there should be a holistic approach to it for the development of the transport sector of the economy.
As part of the solutions to the challenges it has identified, MARAN called for an effective usage of pipelines in the transportation of petroleum products to reduce the high competition of tank farms in the port environment.
It stressed the need for the construction of deep sea ports in the eastern parts of the country so as to receive modern vessels.
Other solutions it proffered include the need for an enabling environment for security in shipping; availability of a multi-modal transport system within and outside the ports; port structures should not be built in isolation but in connectivity for optimum benefits; provision of holding bays and trailer parks connected to the ports; and constant investments in transport infrastructures by both government and private sector operators.
According to the communique, obtained by Maritime Bits, the Nigerian Pots Authority (NPA) must utilise the 7 percent port development levy to build basic infrastructure in the sector. Cargo clearance must be automated for ease of port operations. Professionals must be made to handle logistics and to ensure that operations are seamless. All inland container depots (ICDs) must be linked by road and rail lines for accessibility.
In order to avoid corruption, the association said interpersonal contact in the ports must be reduced to the barest minimum just as trucking must be reformed by the adoption of call up system to instil sanity in the nation’s seaports, airports and international land borders.
Continuing, it stressed the need for the establishment of the much awaited National Transport Commission (NTC); harness the long water channels by use of barges to evacuate cargoes; simplification of formalities and documentations at the ports; creating a transport system backed up by enabling legislation will be beneficial for the sector; address the current situation at the nation’s seaports where total concentration is on the roads.