Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has appealed to the federal government to seek solution to the perennial congestion in Apapa wharf that is responsible for the delay in discharging of cargoes.
Onuesoke, who made the call while speaking to journalists at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on arrival from United States where he attended maritime international conference, observed that Nigeria is losing millions of dollars to other African countries as a result of the congestion in Apapa and Tin-Can wharf because of traffic gridlock.
He pointed out that the delay at the ports was the reason ship owners preferred to go to ports of neighbouring countries, adding that “ships are not expected to come and wait for days or weeks in one port. They are expected to come, drop the containers, turn and leave because time is money.”
He advised that if abandoned Onne, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Warri, Sapele and Koko among other ports in the country are dredged and opened for business, Nigeria’s economy will be better for it, hence ships would now have choice on where to berth in Nigeria instead of going to African ports.
Onuesoke affirmed that data obtained from global port operations indicated that number of vessels that called at the port in 2018 had a decline of 2.72% when compared to the previous year.
“Also comparing the operations data to that of the neighbouring ports shows that the performances of the neigbouring ports are more robust. Nigerian port operations need to be reviewed to enable the ports to improve their competitive position in the regional and global market.
“Port congestions, high container dwell time, high turnaround time of vessels and trucks, inadequate port facilities such as berths, have tremendously affected the operational performance of Apapa port of Lagos,” the former PDP governorship aspirant explained.
He argued that economic implication of the aforementioned inefficiencies is that most shippers would prefer to call at other ports with less congestion, better port facilities and sophisticated cargo handling equipment, adding that the carry over effects is increases in the prices of consumable goods, cut-off-flow during operations by the production companies, decrease in per capita income of port employees, general decreases in the revenue accruable to the port and reduction in gross domestic product.
“But if other ports in Nigeria are operational, the shippers would prefer to go any other ports in Nigeria than going to other African countries to off load their contents,” he stated.