Lagos – Some stakeholders in the maritime sector have expressed fears on the possibility of achieving the 24-hour port operations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that their fears are hinged on the lack of infrastructure at the ports.
The stakeholders, who spoke to in Lagos on Wednesday said that the presidential order of round-the-clock port operations like others may not be actualised.
NAN reports that Acting. President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had recently directed port operators and regulators to ensure 24-hour port operations.
Mr Pius Ujubuonu, the Spokesman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) said that with lack of infrastructure at the ports the vision may remain an illusion.
“We have seen several of such well-articulated blue prints before which remained at the corridor of government intention without coming to fruition.
“The policy is a good one but how will such be possible without access roads to the ports to evacuate cargoes to the end users or convey produce from the hinterland to the ports in the case of export.
“If the operatives and the port users have to work in the night to achieve the order which will in turn bolster the nation’s economy `where is the electricity supply to do that?
“The things that will not allow the order to work is staring us in the face, until those things are taken care of before we can talk of 24-hour operations,’’ Ujubuonu said.
Mr Godwin Ikeji of the Joint Council Seaport Truck Operators (JCOSTO), said that without a truck holding bay, the policy would not work.
“A cargo is assumed to have been cleared when it gets to the warehouse and not when trucks stay on transit days after leaving the port because of gridlock as is being experienced daily in Apapa and environs.
“There are too many operatives in our ports that shippers and their agents have to contend with in the cause of doing business in the ports.
“We want to see a situation where most of these human induced encumbrances are dismantled in the ports to allow for swift operations,’’ Ikeji said.
He said that with scanners not working, the physical examination of cargoes was not helping matters as shippers and their representatives continued to incur demurrages.
According to him, these are high-tech equipment that takes time to install and are capital intensive.
He stressed that until these infrastructures were put in place, the 24- hour operations will remain elusive.
NAN reports that gridlock at the Apapa and Tin-Can ports has taken a new dimension as it has extended to adjoining parts of Lagos State forcing commuters to trek to work. (NAN)