Edo dry inland port to get Domestic Export Warehouse

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on Thursday said it is committed to establishing a Domestic Export Warehouse (DEW) at the dry inland port in Edo State.

Olusegun Awolowo, executive director, NEPC gave the assurance during an inspection tour at the Atlantique Marine and Engineering Services Ltd. (AMES) Edo inland dry port in Benin City.

Awolowo, who was represented by Afolabi Bello, assistant director of NEPC, said the export warehouse initiative is aimed at addressing logistics challenges that are inherent in the export supply chain.

He explained that when the warehouse becomes operational, it would help to reduce cost and time for exporters to conduct their pre-export operations within a single facility, thereby removing the logistical constraints that hinder them from meeting the orders of their buyers outside the country.

The ED noted that the gaps identified in the facility are not too difficult to address if there are commitments from the operators and other partners so that the project can commence in the second quarter of the year.

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“What we need is the commitment from the operators and other stakeholders to fill those gaps between now and the end of the second quarter of 2021. We already have some pilot projects in Kano, Kaduna, and we intend to make the one in Edo work,” Awolowo said.

According to him, the warehouse will serve as a one-stop facility terminal for packaging, labeling, storage, fumigation, export documentations, and pre-shipment inspection of export designated agricultural products.

“AMES Edo inland dry port has been identified as a potential domestic warehouse. We are here today to do an inspection and verify the potentialities that exist in AMES Edo.

“It may not be fully 100 percent ready. We are looking at the gaps that require intervention, and how we can intervene and fill those gaps because of the strategic location and position of AMES-Edo to South-South and South East,” he added.

While restating that the project is a turning point that could revitalise export and improve the volume of non-oil export, he, however, frowned at Nigeria’s reliance on importation of agricultural products.

Earlier, Charles Akhigbe, managing director of AMES- Edo inland dry port said the target is to reduce the cost of export by 60 percent and transport agricultural products all over the world.

Akhigbe said they intend to commence with dry agricultural products in the interim with an average of 100 tonnes shipment on a weekly basis.

He listed the benefits of the project to include prompt delivery of shipments to meet sailing schedule and little lead time for containers entering the port.

“Our desired model is a public-private partnership arrangement that brings the public and the private sector as well as relevant associations under a single umbrella to fulfill a common zero non-oil export.

“Following the federal government’s approval in principle, we are in talks with FOB global logistics, farmer’s oasis, and other investors,” Akhigbe said.

On his part, Kelvin Uwaibi, head of Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), said export must be sustained, urging NEPC to take action to increase non-oil export from Edo State.

Other key stakeholders who were at the inspection of the facility include Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shipper’s Council, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, Standards Organisation of Nigeria and Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (BENCCIMA).

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