• Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Oyetola, Customs CG Strategize On Ports Decongestion, Forge Collaborative Plan For Enhanced Port Efficiency

In a significant move aimed at bolstering port efficiency and competitiveness, the Ministers of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, Transportation, Senator Said Ahmed Alkali, and Customs Comptroller General Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, convened on Monday to address the critical issue of ports congestion. The meeting, held at the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, saw key decisions made to streamline operations and introduce modern technologies to enhance efficiency.

The ministers collectively agreed that the traditional practice of physically inspecting cargoes at the ports must be phased out. Emphasizing the importance of modern technologies like scanners, they urged the Customs Comptroller General to enforce their use and encouraged private investors to invest in deploying and maintaining scanners at the nation’s ports.

In a joint press release signed by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Ismail Omipidan, and Customs spokesperson Chief Superintendent Abdullahi Maiwada, the meeting’s resolutions were outlined.

KEY RESOLUTIONS:
a. PRIORITY ON SCANNING OVER PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:
Acknowledging the pivotal role of Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NIIT) in actively decongesting ports, the meeting entrusted the Comptroller General of Customs with the mandate to champion and prioritize cargo scanning over traditional physical examination methods.

b. REPAIR AND UTILIZATION OF SCANNERS:
Immediate action was endorsed to rectify and optimize all existing scanners at prominent ports such as Apapa, Tincan Island, Onne, and PTML. Simultaneously, the existing mobile scanners will be strategically deployed to facilitate expeditious cargo inspections.

c. RAIL FREIGHT TO INLAND CONTAINERS DEPOT/DRY PORTS:
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) pledged continued commitment to freight cargoes to Inland container depots/dry ports, a strategic move to alleviate congestion at major ports. Plans were unveiled for the efficient evacuation of containers from Port Harcourt to Aba, with future extensions envisaged for Onne Port.

d. BYPASSING FIXED SCANNER DURING RAIL TRACK CONSTRUCTION:
Against the backdrop of rail track construction, the NRC concurred on a pragmatic approach by agreeing to bypass the fixed scanner at Apapa. This ensures the unhindered progression of scanning processes during crucial infrastructure development.

e. PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS FOR SCANNING INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE:
The meeting advocated for exploring Public-Private Partnerships to oversee the installation and maintenance of scanning technology. This collaborative model aims to sustain efficiency and foster innovation in cargo inspection processes.

The collaborative synergy witnessed in this meeting underscores the unwavering commitment of the Nigerian government to cultivate a conducive and efficient trade environment. The anticipated implementation of these resolutions is poised to positively impact port decongestion, trade facilitation, and overall operational efficiency and competitiveness.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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