19 July 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Maritime operators at the just-concluded Lagos Maritime Expo, NIMAREX, have suggested that the Federal Government should improve on port infrastructure, to boost maritime trade.
The experts made the suggestion at the closure of expo in lagos. An exhibitor at the show, Mr Moses Macaulay, a shipping operator working with RANGK Ltd, urged the Federal Government to improve on port infrastructure.
“The port infrastructure we have is not adequate but the Federal Government is trying. Government should try and extend the type of modern port facilities in Onne port to other ports, including Lagos ports,’’ Macaulay said.
Mr Dike Osita, Head, Chartering, Destiny Maritime and Shipping Ltd, expressed concern about the constant gridlock in Apapa and Tin-Can ports access roads.
Osita said the perennial gridlock along the Lagos ports access roads had affected the company’s income and also urged the government to invest in rail transportation to boost inter-modal transportation of goods and to also decongest the access roads to the ports.
In his message to the opening of the expo, a former of Head State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), suggested a road map on how to tap the maritime potential of the nation.
Abubakar said the road map would transform Nigerian ports to be the hub of the West Africa sub-region.
The former head of state, who was represented by Vice Admiral Samuel Afolayan (rtd.), said Nigeria had over 400 nautical miles and large human resources, said 80 per cent of the nation’s maritime resources had yet to be tapped.
Mr Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, on his part, urged the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for the growth of the maritime industry.
Bello said at the three-day Maritime Expo that investors were operating under an unfavourable climate, adding that there was no power supply for the terminal operators.
“The access roads for evacuation of cargo through the ports and other terminals are extremely difficult to go through. It is our duty to make it clear to the government that this is the time it needs to step in comprehensively so that the maritime industry will make its expected contributions to the economy,” he said.
In a message to the Expo, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, said the agency was willing to partner with all stakeholders toward the growth of the industry.
Akpobolokemi, who was represented by Mr Callistus Obi, Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, said there must be development of indigenous capacity in the sector “because without the development of indigenous capacity, we will remain where we are”.
He stressed: “The crew on-board vessels is a critical issue NIMASA is working toward to make sure Nigeria has enough seafarers. That is why we are organising the National Seafarers Development Programme.
“NIMASA has also established a maritime university and also commenced maritime courses in some universities, to build indigenous capacity,’’ Obi said.
He said NIMASA would look into the operational difficulties in the implementation of the Cabotage Act, to develop indigenous vessel acquisition capacity.
The Managing Director of NPA, Alhaji Sanusi Ado Bayero, urged maritime practitioners to emulate other nations by utilising the nation’s maritime endowments to develop the economy.