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Dry ports will boost trade, public revenue, says minister

By Adaku Onyenucheya
03 August 2022   |   4:09 am
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has said the operation of Inland Dry Ports (IDPs) across the country will, aside its critical importance in facilitating international trade and transit cargo...

Minister of State for Works and Housing, Muazu Sambo

• NSC, FMoT launch operational manual for stakeholders

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has said the operation of Inland Dry Ports (IDPs) across the country will, aside its critical importance in facilitating international trade and transit cargo to landlocked countries, act as a catalyst for improved trade flows and revenue source to the Federal Government.

Sambo said the dry ports will also bring shipping activities closer to shippers in the hinterland, increase cargo throughput, boost inland trading, promote export of agricultural products, thus, leading multi-product-oriented economy.

The Minister stated this during the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMoT) one-day stakeholders sensitisation programme/launching of operational manual for Inland Dry Ports in Nigeria held yesterday at Apapa, Lagos.

Sambo, who was represented by the Deputy Director Inland Container Depot of the ministry, Ewache Victor, stated that the dry ports project will also create employment opportunities that would ultimately stem rural urban migration, act as source of internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the host states as well as revenue source to the Federal Government.

According to him, the inland dry port project was conceived as part of Federal Government’s Ports reform programme designed among others in 2006 to decongest the seaports, while also taking shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland.

He said the project is being developed through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) using the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) Model in six locations, which are Isiala- Ngwa, Abia State; Erunmu Ibadan, Oyo State; Heipang Jos, Plateau State; Funtua, Katsina State; Maiduguri, Borno State and Dala in Kano State, which would be commissioned soon.

Sambo noted that other inland dry ports are currently being processed in the following states: Kebbi, Osun, Anambra, Oyo, Edo, Bauchi and Abia.

He said the operational manual, which has been launched, covers the activities in a dry port, which include, container import and export by rail, container import and export by truck, Customs controls and empty container storage.

The Minister urged operators and regulators to abide by the operational processes as contained in the manual, which specifically describes the functions, activities and operations of the dry ports as it relates to export and import according to international best practices for standard quality control.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, said the inland dry ports project were conceived as part of the reform programme in the transport sector to promote efficient transportation, enhance efficiency at the ports and engender trade facilitation in the country.

According to him, the strategic importance of producing the manual articulates the step-by-step procedure(s) for receiving, storing, handling and delivery of cargoes as well as highlighting the operations and responsibilities of agencies and timelines for discharging such tasks.

He said the operational manual, which has already been launched in Kano in July 21, 2022, would be launched in Port Harcourt on August 9, 2022, as it provides detailed processes and procedures for the main activities of the Inland dry ports.

“The manual is based on best international practice adapted to suite Nigerian context. Indeed, each dry port will have its owned specialties, organisational implementation, layout constraints and services offered and would therefore amend aspect of the manual in a case-by-case basis.

“The Nigerian Shippers Council would work to ensure that the up-coming inland dry ports particularly Dala, Funtua and Jos avoid the pitfalls that the seaports are currently experiencing by ensuring they are fully compliant with the operational manual and ISPS compliant as well as operate 24/7. They are transit facilities fully digitalised and served with intermodal transport among others,” he said.

On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the Lagos seaports are operating beyond their capacity, hence, the need to optimise the inland dry ports.

Bello-Koko, who was represented by the Assistant General Manager, Operations, Ayodele Durowaiye, said NPA had been working to ensure the Kaduna inland dry port is linked to the borders of neighbouring countries in the northern region to ensure passage of goods in and out of the country.

He said the effective operations of the IDPs will provide options for shippers and consignees outside Lagos State as it will increase the possibility of export cargoes.

Bello-Koko pledged the NPA’s support to other government agencies under the ministry of transportation to aid the movement of import and export cargoes as well as boxes in the country.

The President, Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL), Leonard Ogamba, commended the operational manual as a working tool that will enable cargo owners, importers, exporters and shippers hold government agencies at the ports accountable in performing their duties efficiently as well as when they deviate from their duties.

He said the IDPs will also help boost Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank Global Logistics Performance Index (LPI), in which the country ranked 110 out of the 116 countries, behind Ghana, Togo, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Republic of Benin and Cameroon.

Also speaking, the Deputy Controller, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Command, Ajibola Odusanya, said the service is ready to work with all stakeholders to decongest the seaports through the IDPs as conceived by the Federal Government to ease the pains of Nigerians.

Odusanya said the IDPs would aid container movement from Apapa seaport to other parts of the county, adding that Customs officials will also escort the cargoes being moved.

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