The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Shippers’ Council NSC, Bar. Hassan Bello has given his assurance of the Nigerian ports attaining 90% digitalisation before the end of second quarter of the year 2021 as the council is succeeding in digitalisation of Nigerian ports.
The ES made this known on Friday at the Shippers house in Lagos during a press conference to acquaint the public of the agency’s activities in the first quarter of the year 2021.
He stated that digitalizing the port will solve the problems of delay, corruption and revenue leakages while ensuring smooth running of the sector.
He hinted that lack of scanners in the port and adoption of 100 percent examination could mar its dream of achieving the 90% automation in all aspects of port operation before end of the set period.
He also expressed satisfaction at the E call-up system introduced by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the already commendable automated services of some shipping lines and port terminals.
He added that Nigeria ports should be the hub in the West and Central Africa region, which can only be achieved if the ports are fully automated and operate 24 hours daily. Stating that most ports across the world are digitized.
In his words “Human contact is dangerous; it brings delays and extortion. A port is not a place for contact. We are trying to achieve this 100% automation. To achieve this, we need full integration with banks, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), terminals and shipping lines, among other stakeholder’s.”
While ratings the activities of shipping lines on automation, He said that so far, some of the shipping service providers, particularly the shipping companies and terminal operators have done well as far in the area of digitalization while some have poorly performed.
He disclosed that Grimaldi ranked highest with 88% compliance, Ocean Shipping with 75%, CMA-CGM had 60%; but added that some shipping companies had as low as 20% on the automation rating.
For the terminals operators, he commended PTML which scored 92% and BUA which had 75% while encouraging others to up the ante.
He, however, noted that most shipping lines had challenges linked with refunds and claims processing.
He referred to the nation’s existing ports as outdated ports, he harped on the need to have deep seaports as he stressed that the economies of scale and modern trends supports deep seaports.
“We know that Apapa and Tin Can are tired ports that can’t be dredged further. Ships shouldn’t stay at other nations and transship to Nigeria. It should be the other way round. The development of deep seaports such as Lekki could be a game-changer in that regard.”
He also added that the Council is exploring all alternatives to expedite the development of viable dry ports and truck transit parks across the nation via public private partnerships (PPP).
On multimodal approach to cargo evacuation, he stated that the federal government has linked rail to Apapa port, describing it as a wonderful thing because cargoes evacuated by rail will be cheaper and faster.
“Inland waterways via barges are also an alternative for cargo evacuation. This hasn’t been perfected because there are security, safety and tariff structures that need to be addressed. There is an overall issue of standardization,” Bello said.