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Published On: Mon, Aug 7th, 2017

Stakeholders seek immediate upgrade of maritime infrastructure

By FUNSHO OLOJO

Stakeholders in the maritime sector have recommended urgent upgrade of the industry’s infrastructure to make it more productive.
They spoke separately during the 2017 African Day of Seas and Oceans in Lagos.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Waterways Authority, Mr. Boss Mustapha, in his presentation drew attention to the condition of Nigerian roads, saying that many of them had become too weak to carry the weight of trucks and other articulated vehicles plying them.
He stressed the need for an upgrade of the roads, rails and inland waterways to facilitate intermodal connection.
“For instance, from the beginning of Obajana (a town in Kogi State) to the end, there are two cement companies whose total annual production is about 15 million metric tonnes and to evacuate 15 million metric tonnes by road, one needs an average of 30-tonne trailer.
“You need about 500,000 units of such trailers per annum for the evacuation. These trailers ply our roads every day and the roads cannot survive such weight.
“In addition to these trailers, there are heavy duty vehicles that come from our ports and others carrying products from oil and gas companies.”
Mustapha stressed the need for an intermodal transport system to ease the pressure on the nation’s roads.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, also acknowledged the need for improved infrastructure in the sector as, according to him, 90 per cent of Africa’s imports and exports were carried out by sea.
“Our oceans and seas are economic infrastructure and an increased investment in it will enhance the productive capacity of our economy,” he said.
The Chairman of NIMASA Board, Major Gen. India Garuba, pointed out that with the right investment in quality infrastructure, and if the potential of the maritime sector was well harnessed, it could lead to increase in the continent’s economic prosperity, provide employment for the youths and fuel growth in other sectors.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, assured the stakeholders of government’s determination to improve the nation’s maritime infrastructure.
He outlined the plans of the Federal Government in that regard as well as ongoing rail and road projects meant to facilitate intermodal transportation.
“The present administration has realised the need to explore the potential of the nation’s maritime resources as efforts are ongoing to improve infrastructure at the seaports.
“Inland dry ports are being developed across the country to ease movement of cargoes from the seaports in line with our diversification programme aimed at repositioning the nation’s economy and reducing the dependency on foreign patronage.
“Furthermore, the Ministry of Transportation has embarked on massive railway infrastructural development and upgrading.
“The motive is to bridge the gap between hinterlands and the oceans to link all the states of the federation to the international trade logistics chain through the seaports.”

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