Business

October 11, 2014

Port Harcourt airport loses N4.7b cargo revenue — Adewunmi

Port Harcourt  airport loses N4.7b cargo revenue — Adewunmi

Amaechi

By LAWANI MIKAIRU

The Chairman of PrimePort Logistics ,Mr Femi Adewunmi, has revealed that Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, Rivers States, has been losing an annual cargo revenue of about 4.7 billion Naira due to underutilization by freight forwarders.

According to Adewunmi, out of the 25% of the cargo that is supposed to come to Port Harcourt and environs, only 2.5% currently come direct into Port Harcourt airport as the rest is hauled by road.

He added that what PrimePort Logistics set out to do is to improve freight services and drive cargo volumes into Port Harcourt International Airport as 250million kilogramme of cargo comes into Nigeria annually . And the Port Harcourt airport must use its 25% volume of the 250million kilogramme.

Speaking with aviation reporters in his Port Harcourt airport cargo section office, Adewunmi said the Port Harcourt freight market is lucrative and mainly business freight .It is mostly oil & gas and some manufacturing. He also said the Port Harcourt market is strategically placed. It has easy access to neighboring markets like Calabar, Onitsha, Owerri, Warri, Bayelsa, Aba, Eket, Oil & Gas Free Zone, Uyo, Delta, etc.

But he contended that the market is currently seriously inefficiently managed despite its advantage over Lagos market. And, according to him, “Port Harcourt has increased clearing and delivery times to Port Harcourt (7-10wkg days) compared to Lagos deliveries. Bad Lagos to Port Harcourt roads and infrastructure resulting to poor quality of trucks . And also the Trucker’s reputation and illiteracy which has resulted in low integrity and trust in the current process of transporting goods from Lagos to Port Harcourt.”

On ways to make Port Harcourt market viable, Adewunmi said agents can “Partner and work with professional well structure organizations like PrimePort Logistics who are changing the way the sector operates.” He went ….have insisted that cargo for Port Harcourt and environs should come directly to Port Harcourt. 100% of PrimePorts’s cargo is diverted from Lagos or is new traffic”. He also said his company is fixing some of the Port Harcourt issues and making additional investments to make the place attractive.

“ PrimePort’s success is by continually fixing the highlighted Port Harcourt issues and has also put aside N60m to offset the additional cost of freight. Port Harcourt businesses must assist in the drive – ‘Insist on PH campaign’ PrimePort is planning to host a workshop to help initiate this and kick off the campaign”.

Adewunmi explained that Port Harcourt airport gets low patronage because most

Lagos based cargo agents prefer doing business in Lagos metropolis and sending their staff to deliver cargo to Port Harcourt. He added that the process in Port Harcourt is faulty as the stakeholders compete against each other instead of complementing each other. Immigration, Customs officials, police, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Security, AVESEC, etc undermine each other and make clearing of goods cumbersome at the airport.

This has led to “lengthy decision process and bureaucracy at the airport and lack of structure at the cargo section of the airport and professionalism in cargo clearance has made the airport less attractive to freight forwarders”. He said it will be better for Port Harcourt clients to insist that their goods should be routed directly to Port Harcourt airport as against their being routed to Lagos Airport and then transported to Port Harcourt by road.

According to him, Lagos based freight forwarders and agents render “upredictable service and operations especially when it concerns Port Harcourt consignments”. Adewunmi stated: “They (Lagos forwarders) have erratic service levels (good today, bad tomorrow) and they are constantly ‘firefighting’ because of share volume of cargo to Lagos.

“True cost of goods from Lagos to Port Harcourt is very expensive. And since delivery to Port Harcourt has been outsourced, there is no control and ownership of process and there is no guarantee that POD bill will be handled carefully. Added to this is the lean resources available to Lagos agents who already have plenty Lagos cargo to clear and so Port Harcourt cargo is additional burden.

“Port Harcourt end users of cargo are unknown to Lagos based agents and so no customer service. Most agents lack international standard .Most agencies are in ‘business’ to make money and not set organizational standard and their focus is too much focus on local companies . Use of technology and connectivity is strange to them”.