By Daniel Gumm
THE USAID-funded MARKETS programme has taken time to analyse theÂ time, cost and reliability factors associated with the transportation of cargo between the various links and nodes along the Lagosâ€“Jibiya corridor, including intermediate points.
An important finding is that the corridorâ€™s performance, in terms of time, cost and reliability, is very poor compared to international benchmarks.
Average costs for the importation of one TEU through Apapa are in the range of $2,600 to $5,500 depending on the final destination and if a transfer through an ICD is necessary, of which $1,000 is associated with the port and the balance is due to ICD transfer and road costs.
Comparable best practice cost within the port would be under $300. Similarly, the average time taken to import a container through Apapa exceeds 20 days. The bulk of this time is taken up in the port. International best practice is under 5 days.
At a workshop organised recently by USAID/MARKETS in Lagos, the organisers and participants discussed various proposals to improve the overall performance of the corridor:
*Measures to support decongestion of the port and its approaches: These include a review of the interaction between the port and rail facilities, the establishment of truck staging areas outside the port to decongest access and the development of a truck appointment system for cargo pick-up or delivery.
This will be supported by improved enforcement to control undisciplined queuing and on and off-road parking of trucks.
*Measures to reduce dwell time in the port: These include measures to reduce the time associated with storage, warehousing and customs processing.Â
Proposals discussed include introducing pre-arrival submission of declaration and supporting documents (to automate customs clearance); providing training to small importers and clearing agents on customs procedures, forms and requirements. Other proposals were to introduce penalties for recurring, inaccurate and faulty customs declarations and to utilise risk management to reward compliance.
It should be noted that some of these interventions are already progressing under the MARKETS Customs Reform component, in close consultation with the Presidential Task Force on Customs Reform and the NCS. And as part of the Global Food Security Response (GFSR), USAID-Nigeria has established the Trade and Transport Reform component of MARKETS â€” Maximamising Agricultural Revenues and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites programme to assist in easing these trade and transport supply chain bottlenecks within Nigeria and throughout the West African region.
*Measures to improve the collection and dissemination of information: This will include, but is not limited to, data relevant to the performance of transport along the corridor such as cargo volumes, transportation times and related impact assessments. This information, in turn, will be distributed to all the corridor stakeholders on a regular basis.
*Measures to reduce the number of checkpoints in the corridor: A primary intervention will include the development of a Road Governance Programme, similar to the one currently implemented by ECOWAS, where truck drivers would be constantly interviewed to collect performance indicators (number and type of road encountered along the road).
With the implementation of some of these improvements importers and exporters could benefit from an overall time reduction of 10 days and savings of about $400 per TEU.
The workshopâ€™s second focus area was to consider proposals to establish a Corridor Management Group (CMG).Â
Following the example of similar groups established elsewhere, a CMG is a voluntary grouping of government representatives, transport and logistics service providers and transport users.Â Members of the CMG collaborate in devising solutions to improve the corridorâ€™s performance and monitoring progress towards specific goals.