The Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) has called for the re-introduction of barges so as to move containers to areas where vessels could not berth.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos on the association’s expectations from the incoming government of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the association, Rev. Jonathan Nicol re-emphasized the importance of barges which he said could be used to evacuate containers from bigger ports that could accommodate vessels to such one that could be inaccessible to such vessels like the Warri ports.
Nicol further called for the rebuilding of the Warri ports as well as send cargo to the ports which according to him was not working at the moment adding that there was no reason for the port not being put to use.
According to him,” Port-Harcourt, the cost of doing business there should be reduced. Onne Ports, the cost of doing business there should reduce drastically too because we have introduced private participation and private participation means getting service at reasonable prices. At the moment, we don’t get services at the reasonable prices yet we pay the bills”.
“In addition, we need good roads. The port system in this country has to be restructured in such a way that only those who have business in the ports should use the roads beginning from Mile 2 to the port locations in another word, the tank farms have to be relocated and we want extension of our ports all through Apapa to where the tank farms are. We have big land which can be reclaimed and new port facilities can be built”.
“We have a whole lot to ask the incoming government to fulfill like for instance, the Warri ports should be rebuilt and cargo should be sent to Warri ports which at the moment is dormant. We don’t have any reason for that port not being operational”.
The SALS boss also asked for the cost of doing business in the nation’s ports to be brought down adding that the government should do all could take it to bring down the cost even as he recalled that shippers still go through hallowing experience of paying very heavy charges in all segments of the industry before cargo is cleared.
He beckoned on the incoming government to put in place laws that would make it impossible for the nation’s cargo to be diverted to other countries saying that by laws he meant that the tariffs must conform to the international standards and that the question of corruption within the clearing community should be abolished.
“We want good roads, we want the terminal and shipping operators to conduct their businesses within the international framework and this should be strictly adhered to and any company who wants to be a terminal operator should be able to get infrastructure on ground to support their business and give service to the Nigerian shippers”.
“We have reached a stage in this country where cargo clearing should not take more than 24 hours even though the outgoing government gave 48 hours which was not actualized not because government failed but because all the stakeholders failed to do their duties creditably. So, we want that laws to be enforced”, he said.