Shippers’ Council Set to Reduce Cargo Dwell Time at Nigerian Ports to 7 Days

…As It Prepares to Meet , NPA, Customs, NEPC , others on March 24

By Shola Fadeyi

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC)  has put machinery in motion to reduce to seven days ,  this year , the existing  about 20 days  cargo dwell time at the Nigerian  seaports  , review downwards the cost of doing business  as well as  increase the  efficiency  of the ports to make them to be more competitive.

The need to achieve this   has made the Council to schedule,for March  24, 2020, a   meeting with its strategic Partners in the Seaports sector  ,  a follow up to a similar one it had in January 24, with major stakeholders in the maritime  and allied industry,  to seek solutions to  the gridlock on the Lagos Seaports Access Roads.

The Executive Secretary/ CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Comrade Hassan Bello , who made this revelation in an exclusive interview with the Marine and economy Online  said that the agencies and  other bodies that will be part of the meeting include the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Customs Service (NSC)

Others according to him, are the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA)  , the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) , Shipping Companies , Terminal Operators among others.

He disclosed that participants at the meeting are to proffer solutions to issues bothering on the  processes ,efficiency  ,reduction of cost of doing business at the ports  , how automation , trade facilitation as well as the Federal Government  Ease of Doing Business would be achieved and how  other challenges facing the smooth operations of the ports  and fast cargo dwell time would become realisable.

According to the Shippers’ Council’s boss, the meeting will also discuss , ways to further ease the gridlock on theLagos Ports Access Roads ,its effects on the ports, solution to the  issue of  empty containers and overtime cargoes that have taken up most of the terminals  and how to  maximize the use of barges to convey goods through the waters.

Bello said that the progress of the ongoing   24 hours operations at the ports will also be reviewed, with a view to making it work better adding that the need to improve on the current cargo dwell time at the seaports  this year is part of the focus of the Council this year.

He stated that the Federal Government had to put in place the Presidential Task Team on the Restoration of Law and Order (PTT-RLO)  on the Lagos Ports Acess Roads, because  of its realization of the crucial  role which smooth vehicular traffic plays on the effective and efficient  working of the Ports  and the fast clearing of goods.

Bello informed  that while the Team has put in place various measures  to checkmate  the gridlock on the Ports Access Roads, other reforms  that have been enunciated by government , namely  the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the  Oshodi – Mile 2 – Tin Can  Apapa Express way  and the linking of the Rail to the Ports would further assist in checkmating the gridlock  and impact on goods clearing at the ports  , when the projects connected with them , are completed.

According to him, the Shippers’ Council is also intensifying efforts with the Customs to ensure that scanners are deployed into the goods clearing system at the Ports this year , to facilitate examination of containers , instead of the manual process that is presently ongoing,  while the terminal operators are to continue to improve on their acquisition of  cargo handling equipment  and delivery process.

He said the Council  this year is interested in seeing the  commencement of  the  single window project , which process  is expected to start   with the linakage of other seaport stakeholders to the Customs E –platform , adding that it  is  one of  the ways to achieve  trade facilitation, quick exit of goods out of the seaports and invariably impact positivel on the dwell time of goods.

Bello said the Council will  also intensify efforts at  sensitizing  stakeholders on the need to always comply with trade regulations , be sincere in their dealings with the Customs , while payig duty on their goods  and cease to abandon their goods at the Ports  to fast track cargo dwell time.

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