By Godfrey Bivbere
Going by the information from port regulators, sea-side congestion at some of the terminals in the ports in Lagos have dropped to 20 percent from 30 percent in the recent weeks.
Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Hassan Bello, who dropped this hint while speaking at a courtesy visit to CMA CGM and MSC shipping lines, explained that 20 per cent of cargoes in and out of the port in Lagos presently are being handled by barge operators.
He stated that the reduction is as a result of efforts to simplify port operations through automation while also attributing the positive development in congestion situation to the movement of cargoes by barges to and from the ports.
He noted that the federal government is deliberately working at ensuring that the present traffic situation is eased with linking Apapa port by rail.
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According to him, “The Federal Government is right now constructing rail to link Apapa port, so rail evacuates most of the cargoes which will give the truckers a run for their money. Then the barge operation has helped in no small measure that why we have about 20 percent sea-side congestion. We know that people are complaining but this is the time of construction, please bear with us if you want things to go right.”
Managing Director of MSC Shipping, Andrew Lynch, said that the company is favourably disposed to the automation of its operations but however noted that some stakeholders actually resist its application.
Lynch further explained that most government agencies (Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and others) which gets soft copy manifest also demand that they send to them about six to seven hard copies of the same documents that are bulky.