Minister seeks reduction in logistics cost, maximising of maritime opportunities
Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Jaji Sambo, has urged the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to harness maritime opportunities by making Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, a transshipping hub to reduce cost of logistics in hauling cargoes from ports, using land.
Sambo, while touring the Port Harcourt area office of NIWA, said: “Nigeria is so blessed in the sense that one can access 28 states of this country by water.
“Inland waterways, as an alternative means of moving economic goods and persons, is key to the development of any country, especially when that country is endowed with water.
“So, you can imagine if we are able to develop these waterways, how logistics costs will reduce, how goods we export out of the country will be very competitive with other commodities across the world.”
The minister also tasked NIWA to operationalise its channel management, just as he assured of his continued support.
“Please, move as quickly as you can to ensure you get this channel management operationalised, if there are issues from anybody at the headquarters, please let me know.
“In this regard, I will encourage the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu, to quickly bring to fruition the project that we initiated in Lagos, where we identified the Marina area office as a hub for transshipping cargoes from Lagos through the inter-coastal root: Warri, Onitsha.
“Whatever support you will require to get this project kickoff, I will give it to you, even in the middle of the night,” he reassured.
Meanwhile, Moghalu, who noted that huge opportunities that abound in the nation’s inland waterways could only be maximised if concerted efforts were made towards the development of infrastructure and adequate funding to make the waterways attractive, called for a regulatory framework that would take the cost of providing infrastructure on roads to water at relatively cheaper cost.