As the Ministry of Transportation forges ahead with its intermodal transportation, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has called on the federal government to determine respective percentages apportioned to particular transportation route for ease of cargo movement out of the ports.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Ms HadizaBala Usman, who stated this in a chat with stakeholders in the maritime sector in Lagos, said this should be done within a period of three to five years.
According to the NPA boss, “One of the important things that I believe the Ministry of Transportation needs to confirm and work in achieving is providing clear timelines and clear percentages as to how we move out our cargo. Within a period of 3-5 years, we need to determine respective percentages apportioned to respective transportation route. For example, we need to determine that 30 per cent of our cargo out of our ports needs to go through the rail and we need to commit a 3-4 year period with which we ensure that this particular framework will be implemented, assigning time lines so that we can achieve results.
“So I will like us to work together in defining having percentages of evacuation of cargo out of our ports on the rail and inland waterways. But this has to be slit across percentages and timelines with which we can do that. That will ensure we can meet the deployment of resources, we can’t meet the deployment and delivery of the infrastructure. There is the ongoing rail concession process which will take the rail to all the way out of the hinterlands.”
She urged the rail concessionaires and their advisers to work closely with the NPA to ensure that the deployment and concession of the rail transport prioritise evacuation of cargo from the port.
“This is very critical. We have been told that some of the concessionaires are removing some of our facilities from the port. This is unacceptable, we have to ensure that we maintain infrastructure on evacuation of cargo. We have a very active and aggressive effort on decongesting Apapa-Oshodi express road. This will not be attained if we do not have other means of evacuation of cargo. All the cargo cannot be moved via the roads, it has to be split across the transportations routs that exist. I will like that we work together to ensure that this position is achieved, with clear timelines and clear goals and certain percentages that each transport routs can take,” she said.
On the state of the nation’s dockyards, she said the situation was said adding that the NPA will do what it can to address the situation.
“I have witnessed the fact that our dockyards are not functional; there are some aspects of NPA operations that should be done or led by the private sector. We are looking at having a PPP model on operations of our dockyards. I have inspected our Port Harcourt dockyard and I saw the state it was in and I believe the way to revive that would be through private sector participation,” she stated.
On port capacity utilisation, she said: “I think what we need to understand is that as we approve and as we present respective port development, we need to understand and assess what we have now on capacity utilisation. Has it been utilised fully? We need to look at clusters of port development to determine the competition as we approve them. We have to determine if indeed what we have would be able to accommodate the need for expansion and traffic to come into the country.
“We have noted the period were the deployment has been made and we have identified need to build on the existing infrastructure. Right now we have commissioned our staff to go around all of our ports to determine the level of decay of our infrastructure. Primarily, I have given the clear directive that all our budgetary provisions will be tied to infrastructure that will add revenue to the Nigerian Ports Authority. Indeed our focus is to see that our degenerated infrastructure is built upon and expanded to take on need for the Nigerian port to have expansive capacity to take on additional traffic.”