The Executive Secretary Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has blamed the high cost of doing business in the country on failure of infrastructure and not increase in charges by shipping companies.
Speaking during a routine visit to some shipping companies in Apapa, Bello explained that the high cost of doing business in the country have been as a result of disruption and distortion by failed infrastructure.
The NSC Executive Secretary admitted that though the roads are not in good condition, the government is doing everything possible to remove the bottlenecks hindering the ease of doing business at the ports.
“We know there are lot of problems responsible for the high cost of doing business in Nigeria ports, but there is no formal increase by providers of shipping service, neither have the terminals, nor shipping companies or even the government institutions have raised charges.
“But the charges we are having is as a result of disruption and distortion by the failure of infrastructure; the roads are just not good now, we admit, but government is doing very serious thing about this.
“If you look at the Oshodi-Tin Can Mile2 axis, you will see the level of work done so far. That is a major road where we evacuate cargoes from the Port. Congestion was up to 30 days but now, it is coming down to 20 days, so you see that things are happening.”
Bello informed that the Council is introducing four cardinal solutions to the hiccups inhibiting the ease of doing business in ports, which includes 24-hour Port Operations, rail delivery, among others.
“We want to make sure that by first quarter of 2021, we are introducing four cardinal things; we want 24-hour port operations. Our ports operate within limited time and that means cargo will come and nobody will work on it.
“We are working with the Customs, NPA, NIMASA, NIWA and other agencies to make sure that 24-hour port operation will commence and this will mean that at every time, our ports will work just like the airport.”
He said the construction of the railway to Apapa port to evacuate most of the Cargoes will give the truckers a run for their money, adding that the barge operation for delivery evacuation has also helped in no small measure, which is why there is 20 percent congestion at the seaside.
“We know it is tough; we know people are complaining but please bear with us; this is the time of construction and you have to bear some pains if you want things to be right,” he said.