25 March 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, says Nigeria is making progress in reclaiming over 300,000 metric tonnes of transit cargoes the country has, hitherto, lost to ports of neighbouring countries.
Efficiency was also returning to the Nigerian ports and the confidence of importers in landlocked countries was gradually building up, he stated.
He said: “We have always emphasised the issue of competition and efficiency, so transit cargoes are won and lost through efficiency of a port.
“Long before Nigerian ports were concessioned, the Nigerian ports were really inefficient and some landlocked countries that patronised Nigerian ports had to resort to neighbouring countries to transit their cargoes.
“Even though the movement of their through ports of neighbouring countries does not make sense to them in term of proximity and cost and other economy scale, it is preferable that they have their goods imported through Nigerian ports.
“Nigerien importers are ready to start using Nigerian ports, about a year or so ago, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council led a trade delegation to Niger Republic together with terminal operators and some shipping companies where Nigerian ports were marketed”.
Bello said the delegation was able to convince the Nigerien private sector that it makes more economic sense to import through Nigerian ports and that the return of this category of cargo will boost the country’s haulage business and further develop the inland container depots.
He praised the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, for its support to reclaim the lost transit cargoes, maintaining that the return of the transit cargoes would create jobs and bring increased revenue to the government.