$500 million Ibadan Dry Port agreement to be signed in August – NSC boss, Bello


… As stakeholders harp on focused leadership to drive nation’s maritime industry

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has said that the agreement for the construction of the five hundred million Dollars ($500, 000,000) Ibadan Dry Port facility will be signed in August this year.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barr. Hassan Bello who disclosed this in a keynote address at the 2nd Transport Leadership Lecture with the theme, “Leadership In A “Next Level” Democracy: Striking A Positive Balance In Transport Sector”, organized by Kings Communications Limited, Publishers of MMS Plus newspapers in Lagos on Tuesday said that the agreement between the Council and the foreign company would take place in the second week of August 2019.

He added that the project to be modeled on Public Private Partnership (PPP) was won by an unnamed foreign company which was the only company that showed interest in the project when it was advertised adding that the Oyo State Government, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) each has a stake in the project.

He further said that the facility was going to be modern and that efforts were already on to make it distinct and eliminate the mistakes made while constructing the seaports.

According to him,” So, shipping is coming to the hinterland, we are going to sign Ibadan Dry port in August, 500 million Dollar facility which is going to be modern and we have to make it distinct and remove what is happening at the seaport. We have to have modern dry port. We are also seeing the challenges in the seaport, we have seen efficiency, we have already started winning the war because we getting cargo from our competitors. Of course, we have problem of interconnectivity which is being solved now.

“When one goes to Apapa, I guess he will see that the chaos has been reduced drastically and that means that the government is poised to make a different. By the time the infrastructure deficit around Apapa is mitigated, Creed Road, Liverpool Road, you will see a semblance of order but we are already having short, medium and long term solution and I will not but thank the Lagos State government for their positive response to what is happening in Apapa because it is also affecting what is happening in Lagos and even beyond.”

The NSC boss however announced that cargo was now being transported to Kaduna Dry port by train on a weekly basis even as he admitted that there were challenges but was hopeful that Nigerians would be happy to hear of the development so that they would load their cargoes for inland shipment.

He therefore called for sincerity on the part of the stakeholder noting that the port was a miasma of varied interests, everybody with his own.

“We have to reform the trucking system, we have to reform the cargo clearing, dwell time of cargo is below the regional average in Nigeria but then, we have to also represent the terminal operators as well as the shipping companies. We have to tell the government the truth that there are deficit in infrastructure and government has to create conducive atmosphere because the operating atmosphere is a little bit harsh”, he added.

On his part, the Chairman of the occasion and former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Temisan Omateye observed that the Nigerian maritime industry had been through a lot of crisis believing that if operators come together and actually look back on how maritime and shipping industry had gone in the last few years, they should be angry with themselves enough to come together and speak with one voice.

He pointed out that the only challenge facing the country was that Nigerians were so focused on their personal interest than on the national interest saying that it was time for stakeholders to start focusing on national interest as it relates to the maritime industry than to work for personal gains.

In his words,” We must make the best to ensure that our children coming behind will appreciate the legacy we leave. So, whatsoever it takes and I appeal to every single one of us here in this room today, that whatever you can take no matter how small it is, let us take it for the betterment of our industry. It is not the time for us to start thinking of what our personal gain is.

“To fail is not a bad thing, you can only learn from your failures and we are learning from our failures. That is why I am going to probably say, whether I like it or not, I take blame for whatever way I have been part of the failure and I apologise for that failure. But the bottom line quite simply is, I will say it the way it is, cabotage has failed, let us start from today to make cabotage work. That is what I will say, it is only when you start accepting responsibility for your failures, then, you can begin to move to make things a lot better but if you live in denial, you will die in denial.

In a lecture entitled, “Leadership In A “Next Level” Democracy: Striking A Positive Balance In Transport Sector”, the Director General of Abuja MOU, Mrs. Mfon Usoro observed that one of the models that had worked internationally was for industry, government agencies not to work in isolation but to adopt a whole government approach to achieve the set goals which according to her must be made known to the citizenry and the role they were expected to play in order to get their buy in.

She added that in this whole government approach where it was everybody’s business to work towards achieving those identified goals, the government and the industry must work together to gather and direct resources both human and capital towards the achievement of these goals.

“In this we have the opportunity for countries that have recognized the importance of leadership which is to motivate people, gather the best tools that you have and work towards arriving at your goals. We can make it, all of us can benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, it is a positive development but for us to benefit from it, every sector has to sit up to take advantage of what we have and what we can do”, she submitted.

Also speaking, the President, WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Mary Hamman called for gender balancing in order for stakeholders to see positive changes on a different level in the industry even as she noted that the women also had a lot to offer in the industry and had all it takes to do whatever anybody can do in the industry.

She continued,” And once that balance is struck, we will see the next level leadership. With the crop of leaders we have in place now that are out to score some points, they are not just there to occupy space, we are seeing what our Shippers’ Council is doing and we have seen what NIMASA is doing, I am not going into details in those areas but when we focused on what we want and we are positive about it, definitely we will see changes in the maritime industry and it takes all of us to have our hands on it, it cannot be left to one set of people.”

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