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Shippers’ Council boss, Bello canvasses total port digitisation

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Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has once again, called for full digitisation of Nigeria seaports, insisting that the reform will ensure efficiency, competitiveness and reduce corruption at Seaports.COVID-19

Speaking in Lagos on Monday during a courtesy visit to the council’s headquarters by the management of Clarion off-dock Terminal, Bello said the council is working toward the ports being digitised by March 2021.

Shippers’ Council boss averred that “Currently, the port digitisation stands at 65 per cent. There are certain transactions – bill of lading and invoicing that are not done online.

”We are meeting with shipping companies, terminal operators and the banks to harmonise the process so that it will be okay and because all these things need to be integrated.

“Most terminal and shipping companies are online, like 85 per cent and we need to make things more efficient.

”That is why we want to digitise so that one can exit cargo without going to the port.

“Digitisation is also against corruption. If one does not physically interact, you pay electronically and reduce corruption, it will be cheaper, more efficient and we will be more competitive,” he said.

The NSC boss further said that the council’s interest was to ensure the terminal was efficient and contribute to the system.

He advised the management of the terminal to ensure that business returned to normal, noting that coronavirus was already a disruption.

According to him, COVID-19 presented a dangerous situation in the ports, saying that scanning containers was less dangerous than 100 per cent inspection.

He said that COVID-19 had disrupted the logistics chain which led to people abandoning their cargo in the port.

Bello added further that terminals were not storing areas as spaces occupied by cargo led to congestion.

“We are working to ensure that goods are cleared because lack of space at the ports is very dangerous. It signals congestion, both at the seaside and on the land side.

“There are lots of cargo that are abandoned and need to be auctioned. We suggest to Customs to do on-the-spot auction without even taking them off because some of the goods are expired.

“So, there is need to help the terminal operators clear the goods so that ships can have better turnaround time; now 50 days which economically is inefficient,” Bello said.

He said that to contribute to port efficiency, the council was introducing three modes of transportation- the barges, roads and the rail.

Bello noted that by the time the ongoing construction is done, the Creek road, Liverpool and the Mile2 Tin -Can which was the major corridor, congestion would disappear.

He explained that there was also the need for electronic call-up system and was happy that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was making much effort on this.

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