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Study shows Nigeria loses $3b annually in ports inefficiency

The inefficiency in Nigeria’s ports is causing the country $3 billion annually in loses.
The annual loss is unveiled by a study entitled Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports which was jointly conducted by the Financial Derivatives Company and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in 2016.
The study reveals that operational indices that ought to have engendered positive changes are rather declining progressively by the day owing to a number of factors.
As at 2018, experts say it is not yet Uhuru as there is no noticeable improvement in this figure.
Of the people interviewed for the report in 2016, 57 per cent were largely corporate users of the ports with 11 per cent coming from the federal government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Others were 10 per cent from the logistics sector; six per cent importers and freight forwarders; four per cent terminal operators; and the remaining 12 per cent simply lumped into a category referred to as ‘others’.
All the respondents revealed that in carrying out their businesses in the ports, they had experienced, among other inconveniences, man-made delays, poor transportation, and infrastructure and ICT shortcomings.
The report stated that Nigeria’s ports have seen 3.3 per cent compounded annual growth rate in gross tonnage of 144.2 million within the past five years, and an annual growth of 1.8 per cent is expected until 2021.
It added that notwithstanding this progress, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report indicates that in terms of port and maritime activities, Nigeria trails far behind many smaller economies in Africa.
Indeed, according to the report, Nigeria ranks fourth in Africa in terms of TEU volumes. Morocco ranks third, South Africa second and Egypt first.
The report concluded that there was need for reforms such as enhancing information exchange on a single window platform to reduce the presence of multiple ministries, departments and agencies of the government at the ports and to limit the spate of human interface in conducting businesses.
Incidentally, the same thoughts and concerns echoed in Lagos recently at a one-day national workshop organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on the theme: Capacity Building in the Transportation Industry - The Railway, Maritime and Aviation Sectors.
The well-attended workshop was graced by many dignitaries including Mrs. J.O. Maduka,  chairperson, Science, Energy and Technical Committee of the LCCI in addition to Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase, LCCI’s president.
Lagos' Transportation Commissioner, Mr. Ladi Lawanson, was also in attendance.
On factors militating against building capacity in all facets of the transportation sector, participants were unanimous that the absence of a maintenance culture, lack of continuity and the inability to implement the programmes agreed upon during conferences.
 ``Implementation of ideas to move forward in all gamut of the transportation sector is still zero. And the authorities who are statutorily empowered to take action must start to have rethink and do the needful.
``Government policies, often times, prevent any form of progress, it was also noted.’’
With emphasis on the present state of Apapa roads which have defied all solutions, they emphasised the need to embark on an aggressive development of the rail system from the ports outbound.
They recommended the use of the rail system to move cargo in and out of the ports is key, if government’s ease-of-doing-business initiative is to become meaningful.
They recommended that the operation of the railway system must be private sector-driven to achieve efficiency. The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) must procure more rolling stocks to improve her operations in line with the exigencies of the moment.
As Mr. Zang James, NRC’s Director of Corporate Planning, who represented the Managing Director, stated that failure to sustain the tempo of development in this aspect of transportation is the bane of the industry in Nigeria.
He recalled that during the Abacha regime, efforts made to revive the railways were scuttled by the same government that ought to have championed them.

For instance, bringing the rolling stocks was discontinued. Government did not realize the need to embark on this as her attention was somewhere else.