BY YUSUF BABALOLA |
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has said the country must avoid the mistakes of non-linkage of the nation’s seaports to rail while setting up Inland Dry Ports across the country.
Executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Barr Hassan Bello, gave the warning at a 2-day workshop for validation of draft operational manual for Inland Dry Ports in Nigeria.
Nigerian seaports have been bedeviled with challenges of cargo evacuation which has led to port congestion and increased cargo dwell time.
According to him, the dry port must be of international standard, adding that, if the dry ports are slow and manually driven, it will not serve the purpose for which it was established.
He said , “The Inland Dry Port projects were conceived as part of the federal government’s reform programme in the transport sector to decongest the seaports and bring shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland.
“Consequently, the Federal Executive Council granted approval for the establishment of Inland Dry Ports in March 2006 at six locations across the country namely, Isiala-Ngwa in Abia State, Erunmu Ibadan in Oyo State and Heipang Jos in Plateau State.
“Others are, Kano in Kano state, Funtua in Katsina State and Maiduguri in Borno State. The projects are to be developed on Public Private Partnership using the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model,’’ he said.
Bello pointed out that Messer CPCS Transcom Nigeria Ltd., was also engaged by the council to draft an operational manual to guide the implementation and operation of the IDPs in line with international best practice.
He added that the operational manual would provide detailed processes, general outlook and those that are involved in the operation of a dry port.
Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) Mr Dauda Suleiman noted that the project would greatly provide stimulus to the economy.