The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has tremendously utilized its capacity and technical knowhow, through the discharge of its functions, to check the spread of the dreaded COVID 19 and contribute to the development of the Seaports, Maritime Sector and the Nigeria’s economy, according to SHOLA FADEYI in this Comprehensive write –up.
Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) .
In the fulfillment of its role as an Economic Regulator of the Nigeria’s Seaports Sector, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has unceasingly initiated robust policies as well as adopted workable measures to curb the spread of the COVID – 19 Pandemic as well as improve the performance of the Ports, the maritime sector as well as the economy.
It has particularly been able to enhance the outputs of the seaports, increase their efficiency as well as their contributions to the polity, through the effective discharge of its various services and projects bestowed on it through its enabling instruments, which gave birth to its establishment both as a Council and an economic regulator of the Seaports, at different times.
However, due to the positive impact of the Council on the Seaport and maritime sector , the general belief is that, it has contributed tremendously, especially in recent times to the development of the economy , due to its expertise , capacity as well as the high quality of leadership, which its Executive Secretary, / Chief Executive Officer(CEO) , Barrister Hassan Bello, has provided since 2013.
IMPACT ON CURBING COVID – 19 PANDEMIC
As a responsible and responsive Economic Regulator of the Seaports sector. the Council has not only expressed its support for all the instructions and advisories that have been rolled out by the Health Authorities, in connection with the COVID -19, it has also religiously implemented and monitor them to ensure that the stakeholders as well as the Port users adhere to the rules, a development that has curbed the spread of the Pandemic.
Beyond this , it has also at the early stage of the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria , when the Federal Government imposed a lockdown on Lagos , Abuja and Ogun States , distributed N5 million worth of protective gears for port users for the use of relevant field and operational staff and another N5 million to be used collectively in the fight against COVID 19 in Lagos and Abuja , the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).
Free Bus Services
Also, in order to ease the movement of accredited freight forwarders and port users who have businesses to conduct at the ports , the Council from April 1,2020 made provision for free bus services from strategic places in Lagos to and from the Ports till the end of the 5 weeks lockdown to check the spread of the disease.
It has likewise called for synergies among port users and agencies to support government in containing the scourge of the dreaded disease, while making it possible to sustain port operations during the period of the lockdown.
The Council also ensured a mutually beneficial arrangement to the service providers and the consumers through discussions with the parties on the issue of demurrage and the necessary incentives on goods at the terminals during the period of the lockdown.
In fact directed the shipping companies to grant demurrage to the shippers accordingly, and refund those who have paid for demurrage for the period, while it has gone further to take up the complaints of those importers and customs agents who could not get refund of the money they have paid as demurrage as it has directed.
Advisory for Banks
When it realized that banks operating at the Apapa and Tin Can and other Ports in the country did not comply with the government’s directives to open and offer services to importers agents to enable them pay duties on their goods and make other transactions , during the lockdown so as to enable the ports to function, he had to step in to convince the banks, a development that made most of them to resume services.
Inspection, Monitoring of Terminals
Beyond this, the Council , during the lockdown had to embark on the inspection and monitoring of the activities and operations of the terminals to ensure that they abide by the advisories of the health authorities as it concerns observation of the rules of social distancing in the workplace , making provisions for sanitizers, soap and water for their personnel and customers to wash their hands as well as inculcating the tenets of hygiene on their workers.
Apart from making official visits to most of the terminals, it had to post some of its personnel to the ports to ensure enforcement of the government’s instructions in order to curtail the spread of the disease.
Reduction in Haulage Charges
The Council was also able to secure a 30 per cent reduction in the fares charged by the truckers with a view to making it easy for goods to be transported within and outside Lagos and as a form of palliatives for the shippers , particularly when the roads were free for vehicular movements during the period.
Streamlining / Fumigation of Operations
For the fact that charity begins at home, it also had to streamline its operations during the lockdown, with only the directors reporting to work while it directed that others should be reporting from home , even as it had during the post lockdown period , reduced the number of his work days and the hours of work to three days in a week as well as embarked on extensive fumigation of its headquarters and its other offices in Nigeria as part of measures to check the spread of the pandemic.
Setting up of Maritime Task Team
The Council likewise set up the Maritime Task Team on the COVID -19 with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) , the Nigerian Port Consultative Council(NPCC), Nigerian Navy, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN), the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria(MWUN) among others to handle the daily challenges at the Port.
Ensuring Multi-modal Transportation/ Ports Efficiency
Despite the challenges of the COVID -19, and the lockdown, it has also continued to take steps to ensure Port’s efficiency and the implementation of the multi modal transport system , a development that made it to intervene in a misunderstanding between the Nigerian Railway Corporation(NRC) and the APMT and led to the functioning of the rail system from the Apapa Port.
Even before the advent of the COVID- 19, consensus is that the Council has done well in terms of sensitization of stakeholders, response to issues and positive impact in the ports, as so many shippers and freight forwarders, who took their complaints to it for intervention succeeded in getting their problems resolved, while it has through the discharge of its regulatory service, saved a lot of money for the economy.
Little wonder that the Council has been slated for the position of the National Transport Commission (NTC) , through which it is believed, it would affect the transport sector , more positively. While it was to have since last year, gotten the Assent of President Muhammadu Buhari for that purpose, but the need to fine-tune certain areas of the Bill caused delay and it is expected that , the President will give his final Assent , sequel to the resolution of the Grey areas of the Bill, expectedly after the defeat of COVID 19.
It was also based on the huge contributions of the Council in recent times that has made the revered maritime lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) , Chief Olisa Agbakoba to have said , that the role of the Council, ought to have been upgraded to that of the economic regulator of the maritime sector before now, instead of just that of the Seaports , adding that the position of an NTC was however, a well deserved one for it due to its huge achievements.
Lending credence to the positive activities of the Council, the Chairman of the Nigerian Port Consultative Council (NPCC) , Otunba Kunle Folarin has had cause, to say that that the Shippers’ Council has through its various activities added tremendous value to the operations of the seaport sector including its stakeholders adding that it was not a surprise that it has made tremendous impact at checking the spread of COVID 19 at the seaports.
However , the contributions of the Council to the development of the economy have been possible through the various Services it has been rendering and the Projects it has been executing which have of course been enlarged particularly in the last seven years of its current management, and which have been pursued doggedly , hence the results that have been produced.
While the projects include, acting as facilitators for the Construction of Dry Ports and Truck Parks across the country, it has also been rendering the services of Industry Stakeholders Support, Representation, Advisory, Complaints Handling , Advocacy, Conduction of Research, Provision of Information, Enlightenment and Performing Regulatory roles.
Despite the results which the Council’s management has recorded in recent time at achieving international standard in port service delivery as well as an affordable cost of doing business at the nation’s seaports , it has nevertheless not been contented with the achievements as it has strived this year to enhance its performance in the areas of service delivery.
The Council’s ES/ CEO confirmed this development, when he told Marine and economy in an interview very recently, before the COVID 19 issue , that the Council has put machinery in place to achieve a better efficiency, and a marked reduction in the cost of doing business at the nation’s seaports this year through some fresh inputs it will make in the discharge of its responsibilities.
Thus according to Bello , the Council has begun to take fresh measures to ensure that the Single Window Project takes up fully this year , that the operators in the sector enhance their level of automation , while more Dry Ports are expected to commence operations, even as it is accelerating the pace of the implementation of the Truck Parks so that they can take off in no time.It is expected , however that the deserved attention given to COVID 19 will not slow down the plans.
The Council as part of the implementation of its functions , has carried out series of negotiations aimed at facilitating clearing of goods at the ports, with the shipping companies, freight forwarders , Shippers Groups , the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria(MAN) NACCIMA , including the Organized Private Sector while they are expected to validate the matters for discussions soon.
Checking Arbitrary Charges
In its continuation of the process of stabilizing charges, it has also before the outbreak of the COVID 19, reduced the various rates of the shipping companies to five from 16 , while still reviewing downwards the sub headings of their tariff as the need arises.
The Council’s various interventions in the areas of checking imposition of illegal and arbitrary charges on consumers of shipping services by the Service providers , have however deterred the latter, significantly from indulging in such habits. This is probably why the Council has insisted that most of the complaints on imposition of illegal and arbitrary charges are not true , from its investigation
The NSC began the process of checking arbitrary charges in the seaport sector , in exercise of its power as an Economic Regulator on October29, 2014, when it reversed the progressive storage charges of the terminal operators and also directed shipping companies to reduce their shipping line agency charges from N26, 500 to N23, 850 per TEU (20-foot containers) and from N48, 000 to N40, 000 per FEU (40-foot containers).
Apparently lending credence ,to the efforts of the Council in the area of checking arbitrary charges, Honourable Tony Nwabunike , the current President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), who is also the pioneer Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN) told Marine and economy in an interview recently, pre- COVID 19, that the Council has impacted positively in this direction, and in many other ways, but urged that government give it power of enforcement to make it do more.
Beyond this, there have been cases in recent times , where the Council has bared his fangs to ensure that arbitrary charges do not stay.For instance , COSCO, one of the shipping agents charged shippers arbitrarily, recently , but the Council wrote to the Agency on the matter and it promptly closed the shipping agent’s office and ensured it complied before reopening the office.
Auditing of Terminal Operators
The Council has likewise begun the process of auditing the Terminal operators ,with a view to ensuring that their operations meet regional and international standards and to know their level of equipment, machinery, cranes per movement , turn -around time of terminal, berth rate occupancy and many other issues. So , it has been visiting them, for purpose of inspection and pointing out inadequacies observed in their operations , while they have been making corrections in this direction even before the pandemic started.
Solution to Gridlock
As part of the discharge of its Services and in recognition of its expertise , the Council has played very positive role as an integral member of the Presidential Task Team on the Restoration of Law and Order (PTT- RLO) put in place by the Federal Government, to decongest the Lagos Seaports Access Roads , as it ensured that private truck parks were sourced as parking lots for trucks who had earlier taken over the roads .
Its expert advice also made it possible for the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) to eventually converted the erstwhile Lillypond Terminal in Ijora , Lagos to a Truck Transit Park which has served as a temporary parking lot for trucks, wishing to gain entry into the Apapa Port , before they receive the call up from the terminal operators , while the measure has assisted to ease the gridlock , even as the Council also contributed in some other ways to alleviating the challenge.
In recognition of its commendable role in the gridlock issue and other steps it has taken in the seaport sector , the Vice President of ANLCA , Dr Kayode Farinto lauded the Council , for offering useful suggestions towards a permanent solution to the persistent gridlock on the access road to the Lagos seaports as well as providing technical advice for government , the Ministry of Transportation and representing it locally and globally on maritime functions .
Because of the importance of automation in achieving efficiency, the Council is still making fresh efforts in this direction to ensure that stakeholders are up to date , despite that it has contributed at ensuring that agencies and stakeholders in the sector embrace automation.
This is why it has persistently enlightened the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) , the National Agency for Food , Drugs , Administration and Control (NAFDAC) ,the Nigerian Customs Service(NCS) and providers and consumers of shipping services .
on the importance of automating their operations for purpose of efficiency and trade facilitation .
Single Window Project
The commencement of the Single Window Project is one of the issues to which the Council ‘s CEO has been very committed , as part of measures ,to facilitate clearing of goods as well as achieve transparency among the stakeholders involved in trade activities at the seaport ,through making all of them to belong to a single platform
Arrangements are being made, while the Council has been in discussion with the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service(NCS) Colonel Hameed Ali(rtd), on how relevant stakeholders would key into the Customs platform , which is to be used for the take off of the scheme.
Meeting of Strategic Partners
In a bid to finding solutions to issues hindering Ports efficiency, the Council before the intrusion of the COVID 19 into Nigeria’s economy, called a meeting of its strategic partners ,namely, the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Export Promotion Council(NEPC), Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON) among others where such obstacles were examined .
Also as part of providing regulatory services, it has concluded arrangements to carry out the registration of regulatory service providers, including all importers and exporters for the purpose of knowing their customers base, improve their service delivery and ensure that their operations are modernized and standardized.
Cargo Dwell Time
Also worried about the challenge of cargoes staying long at the Ports , it is set, after the COVID 19 issue must have become a thing of the past, to reduce to seven days , , the existing about 20 days cargo dwell time, particularly at the Lagos Ports , as part of measures to cut down on the cost of clearing goods, make the Ports to be more competitive and invariably positively affect the high cost of services and prices of goods in the markets.
24 Hours Port Operations
Tied to this is the efforts it is making to likewise make the 24 hours Port Operations and cargo clearing policy of government to become more realistic .While vessel anchorage occurs round the clock, the Council is resolved to look at other aspects of port operations where the policy is not yet working with a view to finding solutions to them.
This is why it has made several inputs into the issue of ensuring that the Lagos Ports and others and new ports to be built are linked with rail, while the massive rehabilitation of the access road ,leading to the Lagos Ports , particularly , the Apapa-Mile 2- Oshodi – Berger Express way are speedily concluded.
The Council is optimistic that with the proposed take off of the single window project, completion of the repairs of the ongoing Lagos Ports Access Roads , and by April 2021, when the Apapa and Tin Can Ports must have been linked by rail , if COVID 19 problem quickly becomes a thing of the past and if the the stakeholders , service providers and consumers of their services embrace automation , among other factors , the 24 hours clearing will become fully functional at the ports.
Legislation on Carriage of Goods by Land
As part of measures to reduce the rate of accidents on the highways and introduce sanity into the trucking operations in the country, the Council has also begun a legislation drive , that will enable it regulate and reform the process of carriage of goods by land .
Consequently, it has under the supervision of the Transportation Ministry, drafted an Executive Bill that will be sent to the National Assembly anytime from now, for Passage into law , and subsequent Assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Council is resolved to have such legislation, because of its conviction that carriage of goods by land , currently lacks such laws, while there is no legal protection of any kind or even a define insurance backing for the operators and practitioners of the trade, even as the anomaly has made it difficult for foreigners to invest in the sector.
The proposed new Bill is one of the lots that have been worked upon by the Council over time as part of its services, while it is also making arrangements to ensure the domestication of the FAL Conventions , to facilitate trade at the nation’s seaports.
It is also a plus for the council that it has been able to coordinate inter modal transportation , standardized service delivery in the Port sector and harmonized clearing processes and procedures.
Involvement in Cargo Clearing Process
Also, by virtue of the fact that the Council is now involved in the cargo examination and clearing process, its activities have led to efficiency of the ports system, and faster clearing of cargo as its monitoring role has made it possible for the different stakeholders, namely, Nigerian Customs Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) and others to be present and prompt at the inspection points at the ports.
Scanners/100 per cent examination
The need to achieve the desired efficiency in Port operations and ensure trade facilitation has also made the Council to insist that scanners needed to be procured by the Federal Government for the examination of goods while 100 per cent examination of cargoes must be stopped because it is no longer the norm anywhere in the world, apart from the fact that it can only be used for some random sampling of containers, the risk assessment and others .
Uniform Haulage Rates / Loan facilities
There are strong indications, that the Council will also soon publish an approved official list of rates for truckers in Nigeria, sequel to their approval by the Transport Ministry as part of measures to sanitise , unify and standardize their charges .
It has already fully discussed and negotiated the rates, with the trucker unions and associations, together with the banks and other relevant stakeholders, while an agreement has been reached on them.It is also working at securing loan facilities for truckers to enable them purchase new trucks .
40% Tariff Reduction
Additionally, as part of its efforts at ensuring stability in charges in the seaports, it has almost concluded work on a Standard Tariff System , which will witness the reduction of tariff in the sector to between 30 and 40 Per cent .
STAKEHOLDERS SUPPORT/ ADVISORY
Through the Shippers’ Council’s Stakeholders Support Service , it has been ameliorating the financial losses of shippers and others , through its Cargo Defense Fund and the savings it has made for the shippers and the economy through its responses to their various complaints and its activities in the areas of Charter party fees, freight rates and verification of the value of container demurrage.
The Council has continued to advise stakeholders on contemporary issues in the transport industry, as well as the Federal Government on policy formulation and implementation as it affects the transport sector, thus ensuring that the industry increases its contributions to the economy
Mediation / Complaints Handling
Statistics collated at the Council on issues concerning its mediation and complaints handling service showed that , in the first nine months of last year, it received and entertained about 108 complaints and saved millions for the relevant stakeholders in naira and hard currency while it has continued to do so, thus checking unnecessary losses which would have led to increase in the cost of goods and services in the economy.
The Council handles complaint from continually pursued goals that effectively minimize freight, tariff and other related shipping charges as well as play the umpire/advisory role in commercial shipping.
Some of these issues include:Short landing and non-delivery of Cargoes;Time bar and prolonged court cases;Theft/ pilferages and damage to cargoes;Excessive and illegal/unsubstantiated charges;Delays in the clearance of goods at the ports; and Lack of understanding of the processes of foreign arbitration.
The Council has been playing mediatory role in many of these cases to ensure recovery, remedy or identification as the case may be.
Saving Funds for Shippers, Economy
Also as part of the Council’s mandate to assist the Federal Government to check capital flight, it has been saving shippers and the nation’s economy huge sums from verifications of the value of container demurrage, confirmation of charter party fees and freight rates that would have been forced on shippers and the economy by shipping agents.
For instance, it was through the discharge of such functions that it was able to save shippers and the economy a sum of N1.740 billion in the first half of 2019.
Port Service Support Portal
In its bid to provide a better complaints handling service, the Council in collaboration with other stakeholders has established a complaints handling portal -the (PSSP). The PSSP is a web-enabled complaints management solution conceived by the Council as a regulatory tool to address the lack of transparency in business to business transactions in Nigeria ports.
The portal allows port stakeholders to submit and track the status of complaints and enquiries in an online real-time manner. It also provides for analysis of complaints to generate complaints statistics
Abolishing Container Deposit
The Council has been working relentlessly to abolish the container deposits paid to shipping companies while in the long run it wants the containers to be owned by the shippers themselves. It has also been striving to guarantee that containers will be returned intact to the shipping companies, which is why it has been working to involve insurance companies in the arrangement
This is meant to put an end to the hardship the shippers have been experiencing in the area of container deposit, particularly where some of them find it difficult to at times to reclaim their deposits from some of the shipping companies which give excuses of the containers being damaged among other issues.
It has also been providing a source of veritable information and enlightenment for stakeholders.
These it has been doing through its Maritime Resource Library, that is stocked with vital materials, its maintenance of a Data Base, various Seminars , Summits and Workshops it has been organising and through various other activities of its Public Relations Unit.
The Council also provides information for shippers and other stakeholders as well as facilitate international trade through its services, whereby it gives information on import guidelines, procedures and documentation; freight and haulage rates; Port Tariff,; Prohibition List; Industry Operators’ Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) , Daily Shipping Position and Regulated Service Providers Registration Guidelines.
It makes available information to stakeholders on indicative freight rates on major trade routes and local shipping charges; International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS), ethics and integrity in conducting international trade and existing contracts of afreightment; through publication of pamphlets, periodicals and fliers containing trade and related information (e.g. Procedure for container weighing, Import/Export Guidelines, etc) .
The Council has also over the years and consistently under the current management carries out stakeholders enlightenment programmes nationwide through conferences, seminars and workshops, a chain of instrument it has effectively used to sharpen the skills of stakeholders and keep them much more informed.
Some of these activities which it has used to keep professionals abreast of developments in their trade include seminars for Transport Journalists, Maritime Seminar for Judges; Annual Shipping Conference;Workshop on Transport Cost and Connectivity;Airfreight Sensitisation Seminars;Stakeholders Townhall Meetings;Market Sensitisation and Road Shows.
For instance, it organised a Seminar late last year to sensitize stakeholders in the economy which it invited to its headquarters in Apapa, Lagos on the positive implications and rationale behind the closure of Nigeria’s Borders with its neighbouring countries by the Federal Government.
In January 14, this year, it also organised an Extraordinary Stakeholders Meeting on the Restoration of Law and Order on Apapa Port Access Roads and its environs at the Rockview Hotel in Lagos, to where it likewise invited many stakeholders to seek solutions to the issue of Gridlock on the Lagos Ports Access Roads .
According to the Founder of the Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) , Chief Boniface Aniebonam , the current management of the NSC has been able to facilitate trade through its various activities , created a high level of awareness as it concerns the rights of stakeholders while it has done so much in the area of capacity building and education .
Also due to its possession of the requisite capacity , the Council has pledged to continue to represent stakeholders’ interest in local and international shipping and trade related fora and organizations such as International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Trade Organisation (WTO),Maritime Organizations of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); Global Shippers Forum (GSF) among others .
EFFORTS THROUGH ADVOCACY SERVICES
It has also continued to embrace new global best practices or align with emerging beneficial trends in the international trade and transport industry , identified and found solutions to challenges ,through its advocacy services, promotion of the formulation and implementation of new policies and adoption and implementation of new legal regimes.
Some of the Council’s efforts in this regard include The UNCITRAL Rotterdam Rules.IMO Container Weighing Regulation;Improving Transport Cost and Connectivity across the Sub-region;The International Chamber of Commerce International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS) and World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO, TFA).
The Council also conducts research into various aspects of the Transportation and Logistics issues in International Trade for the benefit of all stakeholders in the Industry. In this realm, some of the studies/researches the Council have undertaken include, those of the number of articulated vehicles patronizing the Lagos Ports Access Road acting as enabler or facilitator of the construction of Inland Dry Ports or Inland Container Depots(ICDs) or Container Freight Stations(CFSs) and Truck Transit Parks across the country, Port Access Flow/Gap Analysis to proffer solution for the eradication of gridlock on Lagos Port Access Roads and the State of Port Infrastructure among others.
Thus, the impact which the Shippers Council has made on the seaports , in its various activities has made many in the maritime such as Prince OlayIwola Shittu, the immediate past National President of ANLCA, and Prince Adeniyi Ajayi , the Vice President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) to agree , that the Council has on behalf of the Federal Government assisted to develop the economy.
Due to the high level of contributions which the current management of the Shippers’ Council has made to the development of the Dry Ports and Truck Transit Parks in Nigeria , the Federal Government through the Transportation Minister , Senator Gbemi Saraki had to confer on the Council recently, the honour of integrating the Dry Ports into the nation’s Transport Master Plan.
This is in recognition of the importance of the Dry Ports , otherwise referred to as the Inland Container Deport(ICD) as a key factor of development in the economy, judging by the efforts the Council , which is acting as its Facilitator on behalf of the Federal Government, has put into its design and establishment in conjunction with the Private sector, on Public Private Participation(PPP) basis.
The Council has been assisting in the development of the Dry Ports in strategic places in the country because of the need to check congestion at the Lagos Seaports,make them more user friendly, tame gridlock on the Ports Access Roads , develop the nation’s transport infrastructure as well as bringing Ports services close to the hinterlands.
While it has ensured that the Kaduna Dry Port took off almost fully since last year , as train now moves every week from Lagos to Kaduna with containers and carry empties and laden container of exports from Kaduna back to Lagos. The regulatory agencies , namely, Customs NAFDAC, NLDLEA, SON and others have already moved into the ICD , even as it is striving to get pre- inspection or destination status for the Dry Port.
The Council is also working to make the Zawachiki ,Kano Dry Port commence full operation this year even as the Jos ICD has just gotten a new investor.
The Council’s CEO, before the problem of COVID 19 started has had serious of talks with the Deputy Gov of Abia State with a view to having, a new focus to the ICD in Isiala- gwua, Aba in Abia State while the ICDs for other locations in the country namely the ones in Ibadan, , Zamfarawa, Funtua and Jauri, Maiduguri,Lokoja in Kogi State; Obollo-Affor in Enugu State; Ogere in Ogun State; Jebba in Kwara State and Port Novo Creek in Lagos State and Ore in Ondo State are in various stages of development.
This is even as the Council has ensured that an agreement for the construction of a fresh dry Port in Ibadan that will cost $500 million is signed this year, while the ICD is to be ready in 18 months with capacity to employ thousands of Nigerians just like others.This is in addition to the one that is being promoted in Erunmu in the same Ibadan by Catamaran Nigeria Limited even as others in Isialagwua, Aba Zawachiki, Kano.
It is the need to check indiscriminate parking of articulated vehicles on roads and bridges across the country , drastically reduce the rate of accidents on the highways, show humanness to the drivers , as well as improve the Nigeria’s economy infrastructure,that the shippers Council has also been with the establishment of TTPs in various parts of the country also on PPP basis.
The Council has thus appointed transaction advisers for them while it has advertised the one in Obollo-Afor, Enugu State with a strong assurance that international investors would invest in it and that a preferred bidder would emerge for it this year . Such is also expected for the one in Lokoja In Kogi State.This is even as the Council’s CEO along with officials of the ICRC has just recently inspected the land for the one to be established in Abuja.
The fact that the TTPs being proposed by the Shippers’ Council (NSC) across the country will help the federal government save a whopping $15billion annually to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, according to an international agency, has lent credence to the extent of benefits that will accrue to the economy from the Council’s initiative.
Other TTPs are meant for Jebba, Kwara State,Ore, Ondo State,Ogere, Ogun State,Porto Novo Creek, Lagos State,Onitsha, Anambra State, and Mararaban in Nassarawa State.
However, despite that the Council has been able to positively impact the seaports , the maritime sector their stakeholders and the economy in many ways ,through its services , it has nevertheless not rested on its oars , as it has persistently adopted fresh measures to make the ports to be more modern in their operations ,increase their efficiency level and competitiveness .