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Fixing port rail lines, inter-agency synergy can drive transit port plan

Whereas the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) is busy discussing with neighbouring landlocked nations on possibilities of signing a deal to use Nigerian ports as their cargo transit port, maritime analysts say the first step will be constructing rail lines from ports, and upgrading transit roads to borders.

Another factor they canvassed is the need for inter-agency synergy so as to achieve seamless logistics provision and understanding to avoid undue hiccups in the administration of the scheme.

According to the National Director, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Nigeria (CILT), Mr. Paul Ndibe, “If the current tonnage in terms of import to our port has the content of the neighbouring landlocked nations, there may be challenges to execute the deal”.

“If they are going to be an addition to our current tonnage in terms of import, then what we need to do is to restructure developments around our ports. What I mean by this is, look at the ports, they are under terminal operators, although it is the importer that choses the port he wants his cargo to go, but would government have some level of control over the operators of some these private terminals? I don’t think so.

“Therefore, if some people are coming from a particular country, let us say Chad and they have chosen a particular port of destination, it is expected that the government would be able to influence the activities involving the port in terms of easy of movement of these goods from the point of loading up to the final destination.

In the submission of another maritime stakeholder, Mallam Garba Rano, “There is need to upgrade adjoining roads, rail lines and even the ports from where the cargoes will be discharged”.

“Again, there is the issue of involving the terminal operators because government should bear in mind that it is no more in total control of ports terminals but concessionaires. There is no way the transit port will be effective if terminal operators are not factored into the international deal. The entire scheme would have been very easy if government is the sole operator.

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