22 December 2016, Lagos – Nigeria’s main ports, Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Port as well as other four ports (Onne, Rivers, Warri, Calabar) are to set to witness full capacity utilisation, the Nigerian Ports Authority has said.
This is coming even as the Nigeria Customs Service has tightened security around the land borders in preparation for the full implementation of the Federal Government’s directive banning importation of rice and cars through the land borders from January 2017.
The increase in import duty on vehicles and rice by the last administration has sent importers to ports of neighbouring countries and left the nation’s ports operating below capacity.
But the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms Hadiza Usman, has given the assurance that the situation will change and the ports will begin to witness improved activities.
Disclosing this during a press conference to mark her 100 days in office, Usman allayed fears of traffic congestion as a result of the ban, with the insinuations that the ports might not have the capacity to cater for all the goods that would be coming in.
According to her, the Nigerian ports have enough capacity; only that “this capacity was not just utilised.”
Usman also pledged the government’s commitment to ensuring seamless importation through the ports, adding that a lot of efforts were being geared towards reducing the bottlenecks that had been a common feature of clearing and movement of goods through the ports.
She said, “The Nigerian ports are ready to take on the challenge. We are ready to have seamless operations with improved traffic. Some of the traffic we have seen dwindling was as a function of some of the government’s policies on importation of new cars.
“With this ban through the land borders, we will see an increase in activities within our ports and we have put in place the mechanism to ensure that additional traffic will not form any bottleneck. We will just upgrade what had existed before.”