Apapa Port is heavily congested.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello says digitalization of the whole port’s processes will impact positively by checking corruption in the system.

Bello told the management team of the Clarion off-dock Terminal who paid him a courtesy visit in Lagos that digitalization will equally enthrone enduring efficiency and competitiveness in the industry.

He also mentioned that the ports economic regulator was working hard to ensure that the ports are fully digitalized by March next year, adding that the current situation stands at 65 percent.

The Shippers Council boss said there were certain transactions, such as bill of lading and invoicing that are carried out online.

According to him, ”We are meeting with shipping companies, terminal operators, and the banks to harmonize the process so that it will be okay and because all these things need to be integrated.

“Most terminal and shipping companies are online, like 85 percent and we need to make things more efficient.
”That is why we want to digitize so that one can exit cargo without going to the port.

“Digitisation is also against corruption. If one does not physically interact, you pay electronically and reduce corruption, it will be cheaper, more efficient and we will be more competitive.”

He explained that the target of the Council was to ensure that the terminals become very efficient.

Bello added that to make the system efficient, the Council will introduce three modes of transportation, the barges, roads, and rail.

He noted that coronavirus has been a disruption in the system, but called on the operators to do their best to return to normal operations.

The Shippers Council helmsman said that due to COVID-19, many people abandoned their goods, a situation which according to him led to congestion in the system.

“We are working to ensure that goods are cleared because lack of space at the ports is very dangerous. It signals congestion, both at the seaside and on the land side.

“There are lots of cargo that are abandoned and need to be auctioned. We suggest to Customs to do on-the-spot auction without even taking them off because some of the goods are expired.

“So, there is a need to help the terminal operators clear the goods so that ships can have better turnaround time; now 50 days which economically is inefficient”

The Vice President of Clarion Mrs. Ifeoma Eloka in her response commended the Executive Secretary for the intervention of the Council over the closure of the terminal by the Customs.
The Closure, according to her, led to a lot of losses.

She equally commended the Customs for their part of reopening the terminal for business, assuring that the measure will lead to appropriate service delivery. (VON)