House: Nigeria Loses $7bn Annually to Inefficiencies, Poor Management of Seaports

House: Nigeria Loses $7bn Annually to Inefficiencies, Poor Management of Seaports

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The House of Representatives has said Nigeria loses an estimated sum of $7 billion annually due to poor management and inefficiencies of the nation’s seaports.

To this end, the House has mandated its  Committees on Port and Harbours, National Planning and Economic Development, Maritime Safety Education and Administration and Nigerian Shippers’ Council to investigate the gaps affecting the full realisation of the economic advantage of Ports and Harbours and other Blue Economy in Nigeria.

The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion on ‘the Need to Investigate Gaps and Loss of Opportunities in the Maritime Sector,’ moved at plenary yesterday, by Hon. Julius Ihonvbere and Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka.

Moving the motion, Ihonvbere said the maritime sector was crucial for the Nigerian economy’s survival with under-utilised seaports which could increase the nation’s revenue and indeed the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said: “Nigeria’s seaports receive barely 10 per cent of West African imports out of 60 per cent destined for Nigeria, a significant economic loss due to poor management and inefficiencies, estimated to cost $7 billion annually.”

The lawmaker expressed concern that most ships prefer to go to other ports other than Nigerian ports.

Ihonvbere, added that Benin Republic benefits from Nigeria’s large market, while Cotonou remains a popular importers’ haven, while huge trade cargoes are lost to Togo and other neighbouring countries from where they are offloaded and transshipped to Nigeria due to poor shipping connectivity and shallow drafts of the port channels which lead to trade cargo losses, estimated to be N250 billion in 2016 alone.

The lawmaker wondered why the nation was unable to provide adequate infrastructure and reduce pressure on Lagos ports and why the Calabar, Port Harcourt, Warri, and Koko ports cannot be developed as a haven for importers in the region.

He expressed worry that lack of adequate infrastructure and capacity in the growing cargo and maritime business was a significant issue.

The lawmaker noted, “Disturbed that Nigeria’s Apapa Port lost West Africa’s leading position due to congestion and poor quality services to shippers. Port of Lomé, with a capacity of 1.1 million twenty-foot containers, overtook Lagos Port due to modernisation reforms which tripled its capacity from 311,500 containers to 3.1 million, thus, making ‘Togo’s Port of Lomé becoming a regional transit hub;

“Also disturbed that Nigeria’s Apapa Port, Lagos, which handles about 1 million TEU annually, lost 30 per cent of its container traffic over five years due to several factors bedevilling its inability to deliver efficient services to cargo owners, this explains why Nigerian ports have remained inefficient over the years.”

Ihonvbere said Nigeria’s major seaports in Lagos do not have deep draughts to handle bigger vessels, while modern seaports in Port of Lomé have a depth of 16.60 meters and capacity to accommodate third generation ships, while Apapa port operates with a 13,5 meters draught that could only allow vessels with about 4,000 TEUs of containers to call the port.

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