By Godwin Oritse
FOLLOWING the introduction of barging operation to fasten cargo delivery services, Nigerian’s biggest port terminal operator, A.P. Moller Terminal has been commended by Licensed customs agents and importers for the provision of barging services to support the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Port stakeholders for years have decried the difficulty in accessing Apapa Port due to traffic congestion on the port access roads. This in turn has driven up the cost of shipping, logistics and other associated costs in the maritime industry.
BethrandNduduim, who is the Chairman of a Customs licensed agency, Obetus Investments Nigeria Limited, while speaking in Lagos, said APM Terminals Apapa has “brought in a lot of professionalism into the port industry and that has helped the flow of goods to the port.”
He said, “The roads have been in a bad state for a while; you can spend as much as two weeks on the road before accessing the port. With the introduction of inland barge services, a lot of businesses such as mine have received a boost; delivery has been so good.
“With barging, you can move 20 containers at a time; it makes life easy for the customs agent.”
In a similar vein, Customs licensed agent and Managing Director of Akwaport Nigeria Limited, Richard Ndah, also commended the terminal operator for its digital platforms.
He said, “The online platform, TermView, eliminates the need for agents and importers to physically be at the port and has greatly minimized the cost of operations for us.
“I monitor my containers via Termview; when it is time for them to be positioned for examination, I get a confirmation alert. You can keep tracking the movement of your containers up until the point, they are loaded on the trucks.”
APM Terminals Apapa Chief Commercial Officer, Richard GC Smith, said the terminal has embarked on intermodal connections and digitization drive in recent years.
“Barging operations began in 2017 and since then, our customer base for this service has recorded growth. We partnered with several barge operators, all approved by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to evacuate cargo via the inland waterways. The more cargo we evacuate, the more we ease traffic congestion on the roads and the easier it is to do business at the ports.
“We will continue to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s multi-modal logistics and by offering barge services to both importers and exporters, we aim to support the growth of the Nigerian economy.”
APM Terminals Apapa is one of the largest container terminals in West Africa. So far, APM Terminals Apapa has committed more than US438 million – the highest investment by any terminal operator in Nigeria – to the development of its infrastructures, handling equipment and IT hardware and software systems.