By Eromosele Abiodun
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that for any country to achieve efficiency at its ports, intermodal transport system is an essential factor to consider.
Peterside who said this while addressing journalists in Lagos, noted that in order to attract investment to the maritime sector, a seamless transport system was very crucial, saying there must be a good connection between the road and rail to the ports.
Accordingly, Peterside stated that, â€œtake maritime for instance, if the lands transport system is efficient, vessels idle time in the port will be highly minimized or completely eliminated, thereby reducing the turnaround time of vessels. When the turnaround time is low, the berth occupancy ratio of the port will be high and the port will be more efficient, more competitive and more profitable.â€
Speaking further, the NIMASA boss observed that port congestion was mainly caused by the inability to evacuate imported goods out of the ports, which can be attributed to the inefficiency of land transport connections to the ports.
He added, â€œWhen the connection is inefficient, the cargo dwell time will increase, thereby causing congestion. The resultant effect of this is that there will be no spaces left to discharge cargoes and offloading from vessels will be stopped, pending evacuation of the already discharged ones. Whenever this happens, vessels will be delayed, the revenue of the port will drop, shippers will incur unnecessary demurrages and the port will become unattractive.â€
Peterside, who highlighted the impact of intermodal transport to the maritime sector as; improvement on the cargo handling time in the ports, improvement of security in the ports, reduction of damages and losses, ease of transfer to other modes of transport and faster transportation to the final destination amongst others.
He noted that it is a greater enabler for multimodal transport system, which is a means of door to door delivery of goods using different modes of transport.
Furthermore, he used the opportunity to assure the international community that the President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s led federal government was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the access roads leading to Nigerian ports are very accessible so that vessels accessing our ports do not exceed their dwell time.
While canvassing for more investment in the Nigerian maritime sector with an assurance of return on investment, he said the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the federal government, which has seen Nigeria, moved up from 169th position in 2017 to 145th in 2018 is a step in the right direction intended to bring about more investment opportunities.
He noted that it was hopeful that Nigeria will rank higher in the next rating adding that, â€œWe are also engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to create a specialized interest rate for acquisition of assets for our ship-owners, aside working towards the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) as this will also give room for a full-fledged Cabotage regime and more job opportunities created.â€