Nigeria has continued to lose its cargo income and investments to neighbouring nations as a result of a number of bottlenecks on the ports. ADAKU ONYENUCHEYA experiences efforts the Federal Authorities is making to regain the losses and place the nation because the maritime hub of West and Central Africa.
Poor infrastructure and cumbersome clearing processes amongst different challenges have made Nigeria to lose trans-shipment and transit cargoes to neighbouring nations thereby jeopardising the nation’s likelihood of turning into a maritime hub.
Land-locked nations resembling Chad and the Republic of Niger, which, prior to now, had been utilizing the nation’s ports as transit factors for his or her cargoes have diverted to Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon.
Additionally, nearly all of importers divert Nigeria-bound cargoes to the neighbouring nations simply as buyers shun the nation’s ports to speculate elsewhere. The cargo diversion prices Nigeria an estimated N130 billion yearly in line with experiences.
These challenges have pulled the nation behind within the maritime sector, which is likely one of the highest contributors to the economies of different nations.
The neighbouring nations capitalise on the shortcomings in Nigeria’s maritime sector to say transshipment hub standing as they’re quickly creating into fashionable seaports with automated services and infrastructure in addition to deeper draught that may accommodate bigger vessels with Nigeria-bound cargoes.
Whereas the neighbouring ports can take a vessel with 16 metres draught, not one of the Nigerian seaports can accommodate such a vessel as a result of nation’s shallow draught which isn’t greater than 13 meters.
Based on findings, the draught stage of Togo is 15.5 metres, the Benin Republic has 15 metres, Ghana is near 19 metres whereas Cameroun has 16 metres.
Already, Togo has overtaken Nigeria to grow to be the main port in West Africa. Based on the United Nations (UN) report, Togo recorded 1, 725, 520 twenty-foot equivalents (TUEs) cargo throughput in 2020 whereas Nigeria recorded 1, 528, 520 TUEs in the identical yr, thereby shedding over 196, 750 TUEs or 30 per cent of container visitors to Lome port.
Additionally, ports throughout the area have positioned themselves and are prepared for participation within the African Continental Free Commerce Space (AfCFTA) regime.
In the meantime, stakeholders within the nation’s maritime sector had suggested the Federal Authorities to design the idea of a deep seaport and transshipment heart to accommodate massive e-class vessels/mega-ships of 8,000 – 20, 000 twenty-foot equal items (TEUs) which are at the moment demanded by regionally and globally, which they mentioned is the one answer to the diversion of products to neighbouring ports.
Additionally, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had acknowledged that with the nation accounting for 70 per cent of the cargoes imported into West and Central Africa, creating fashionable deep seaports shall be an enormous potential income earner for the nation together with the attendant a number of socio-economic advantages.
Lekki Deepsea to rescue
Fearful by the gradual lack of the maritime hub standing and income, as a result of inadequacies of seaports within the nation, the Federal Authorities and Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Restricted signed a 45- yr concession to develop a deep sea/multipurpose port in Lagos State.
With a draught stage of 16.5 metres, Quay wall of 1, 523 metres and a turning circle of 600 meters, Lekki port is projected to be some of the fashionable deep seaports in West Africa, which is able to function an enormous help to the burgeoning industrial operation throughout Nigeria and repositioning the nation because the maritime hub of the area.
The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, had expressed confidence that the graduation of operation of the port would strengthen the nation’s maritime sector to satisfy the ever-growing calls for for items transported by sea.
Additionally, the Minister of Info, Lai Mohammed, throughout a latest tour of the port, mentioned when accomplished the port would make Nigeria regain the maritime enterprise that it misplaced to ports in Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
Based on the minister, it will even be a giant enhance for the nation in its quest to benefit from the implementation of the African Continental Free Commerce Settlement (AfCFTA).
The minister additionally estimated that over $201 billion in taxes, royalties and duties can be generated for the federal government in addition to create 169,972 jobs when the port commences operations within the fourth quarter of 2022.
He mentioned the mixture financial affect of the port, put at $361 billion in 45 years, can be over 200 occasions the price of constructing the port.
He added that the direct and induced enterprise income affect of the port is estimated at $158 billion along with a qualitative affect on the manufacturing, commerce and industrial providers sector.
“No port in Nigeria at the moment has this. The wonderful tools is why this port can do 18,000 twenty-foot equal unit (teu), which is greater than 4 occasions the quantity that may at the moment be dealt with by our different ports,” he acknowledged.
He mentioned with regulatory businesses, which embrace, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Company (NIMASA), Nigerian Police Pressure (NPF), Nationwide Company for Meals and Drug Administration and Management (NAFDAC), Division of State Safety (DSS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Port Well being Providers (PHS), Nigerian Drug Legislation Enforcement Company (NDLEA), the federal authorities’s ease of doing enterprise can be achieved within the port.
On the readiness of Lekki port to assist Nigeria attain its regional maritime hub agenda, the Architect of the mission, Matthew Oloyede, defined that with the automated infrastructures, it is going to accommodate the biggest and post-Panamax vessels.
“Energy plant technology is 16 megawatts. We could have an environment friendly port the place all operations are automated. We’re competing with different neighbouring ports when it comes to automation. Containers would move by way of our scanners and never the bodily examination course of. This reduces the clearing time as nicely.
Additionally, the Managing Director, Lekki Deep Sea Port, Du Ruogang, assured that the port would change the financial panorama of Nigeria and West Africa at massive with its largest terminal capability.
He mentioned the operators could have a terminal working system that shall be extra built-in, not solely to drive the performance of the port however e-commerce as nicely.
Ruogang additional mentioned the aggressive fringe of the port is the flexibility to just accept bigger vessels and discharge ships twice as quick, thereby decreasing the general port keep of a vessel in addition to the prices for importers and exporters minimally, whereas financial savings are handed to the shoppers.