The chieftain of the umbrella body of licensed customs agents in Nigeria, the Association of Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Enoch Iwueze, has called for support for Nigeria’s seaports located in the eastern part of the country.
While decrying the over-concentration of shipping activities in the seaports in Lagos, Iwueze in an exclusive interview called for the implementation of policies and programmes that will enhance operations in ports in the eastern part of the country.
He enjoined stakeholders in the maritime sector of the economy to give what he called ‘their unalloyed support’ to the measures put in place by the federal government to make shipping operation in eastern ports better than it is presently.
According to him, efforts by the federal government to ease the congestion in Lagos ports should be sustained in the months ahead.
“It does not make any economic sense that the eastern ports are virtually idle while the ones in Lagos are congested, bringing pains, sorrows and unnecessary additional cost to port users and others in the cargo clearance chain,” he added.
The ANLCA chief, who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air-Sea Freighters Limited, spoke on the heels of the recent berthing of the largest container ship to ever visit Nigeria at Onne Port Complex in Rivers State.
According to him, “This feat attained by Maersk Line in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will go a long way to encourage other shipping lines which have been skeptical of draught limitations to scheduling their larger and bigger vessels to Onne Port. It will equally reduce the volume, rate and trans-shipment containers hitherto being brought by feeder vessels from other neighboring countries.
“Maersk Line is presently a foremost shipping line operating in Nigeria and indeed the West African region, and it has brought a lot of innovative ideas in documentation both in invoicing, payments, and cargo releasing processes. I very much commend the global management and local staff of Maersk Line for their dedication to duty and hope they will maintain and improve on their current trend.”
Iwueze and many other stakeholders in the maritime industry have continued to express delight at the successful berthing of the largest container ship in the country, even as they called for concerted efforts to ensure that the momentum is sustained in the years ahead.
The Air-Sea Freighters Limited managing director and CEO maintained that the country and Nigerians stand to gain more when all the country’s seaports are fully utilised for the benefit of the citizenry.