- NSC Labels Nigerian Seaports ‘Import Ports’
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, has said that Nigerian seaports were only structured to take out exports and not to bring in imports.
Bello stated this on Tuesday while presenting a paper titled, “Nigerian Transport Policy; Maritime Dimension,” at the second edition of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors’ Nigerian Maritime Technical Summit.
“Maritime transportation must be a two-way affair, we must export, just as we import. We cannot keep having containers coming in laden with goods and leaving our shores empty,” he stated.
He described the ports in Apapa and Tin Can Island as well as the one in Warri as ‘water ports,’ maintaining that they were not deep seaports and were not accessible to big foreign vessels.
“Navigation is very difficult in these ports and I am now worried about the connection to Lekki deep seaport. Government must ensure that existing access to Lekki is appropriate. We cannot have the Apapa mistake.”
He listed the challenges in the maritime transport sector as infrastructure, funding, lack of stable government policy, lack of transparency and predictability.
He called for increased private sector participation in maritime transport, arguing that it was not the role of government to run business but to regulate and provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
According to him, while government strives to mobilise as an enabler, the private sector must be seen as the driver, particularly of government’s interest and policies for the overall benefit of the common man.
Bello however cautioned that the private sector, in order to prove itself worthy of moving the economy forward, must be responsible and accountable to the people.
He said that Nigerians might continue to experience hiccups in the transportation sector, until an inter-modal approach, with a utilitarian value, was fully adopted.
A former Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, who chaired the occasion, thanked AMES for its continuing efforts towards growing the nation’s shipping sub-sector, just as he commended the government, particularly the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for his determination and genuine commitment to uplifting the Nigerian maritime industry.
“We are here to assist the policymakers. The policymakers have to be assisted and supported by all of us, whether as pseudo or core professionals,” he said.