• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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River ports, inland cargo evacuation seen decongesting Lagos Ports

River ports, inland cargo evacuation seen decongesting Lagos Ports

Temisan Omatseye, a former director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has called on the Federal Government to pay attention to developing more river ports across the country as a way to take the burden off the ports in Lagos.

Speaking at the breakfast meeting organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria with the theme ‘Rehabilitation of Tin-Can Island Port: Proffering Workable Solutions,’ Omatseye said the move will help to tackle the deplorable state of infrastructure at the Tin-Can Island Port in Lagos.

In addition, he said, the government needs to consider using river channels to effectively transport imported cargo from major seaports to hinterlands where they are needed.

He said such will create employment opportunities that extend to various regions across the country.

Omatseye called for a radical approach to alleviate the strain on the overburdened Tin-Can Island Port, suggesting that terminal operators should only be allowed to operate in Lagos if they have a waterfront that can support cargo evacuation.

“We need to relocate port operations to areas like Epe or Ikorodu, establish a terminal in Ijebu waterside, with the assistance of the Ondo State Government, and construct a dual carriage road from Lagos to Ore. This strategic development would encourage cargo movement away from Lagos, ultimately easing the strain on the port and boosting the economy of other regions,” he said.

Omatseye also called the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to initiate joint ventures with barge operators and invest in first-class equipment in order to facilitate cargo evacuation via inland waters.

He emphasised the importance of using smaller feeder vessels with a draft capacity of 5.9 meters to transport cargo to ports in Warri, Koko, Ugala, Calabar, and other areas.

He said the cost of moving cargo via water transportation to these ports would be significantly reduced compared to the traditional trucking methods, in order to offer a viable and efficient alternative mode of transporting goods.

On his part, Eugene Nweke, chairman of the occasion, said there is a need to pay urgent attention to the critical infrastructure at seaports.

According to him, the ports play a vital role in the nation’s economy and trade facilitation, and inefficiencies in the port system result in costly delays for ship and cargo owners.

Ayo Durowaye, who represented the managing director of the NPA, acknowledged the significance of infrastructure failure at the Tin-Can and Apapa Ports, which account for over 60 percent of the nation’s cargo traffic annually.

While admitting the current state of the Tin-Can Port and the need for repairs, he said, the port recently accomplished milestones such as accommodating the largest commercial vessels despite the state of infrastructure.

Other stakeholders present at the event urged the government to take decisive action to address the deplorable state of infrastructure at the Tin-Can Island Port and also promote a more efficient and sustainable transportation system in Nigeria.