Govt advised to address traffic forecast challenges, others, before green fields’ port development
WorldStage Newsonline-- Nigeria’s government has been advised to address challenges such as traffic forecast, delimitation of the hinterland ship traffic specializations before embarking on green fields’ port development.
Stakeholders who gave the advice at a day summit organised by Golden Edge Consults and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at the Rockview Hotels, Apapa, said new ports must be developed based on traffic specialization.
They said that the port must be designated as container port, bulk cargo or Ro-Ro port.
The summit with theme: “The First Nigerian Green Field Port Development” featured experts from the maritime industry, government agencies and policy makers among others.
They also explained that the port’s catchments area must be properly delineated and how it will be connected to the area for easy and smooth evacuation of cargoes.
In a communiqué, the stakeholders stressed: “ The issue of regional competition must also be settled. Green fields’ investors should be allowed between 40 years and 50 years within which to recoup their investments unlike concession which is between 10 to 25 years. Cargo interests should be considered and represented in concession procedures.
“The regulator must be separated from the landlord in order to engender fair competition. Government should ensure effective maximization of the potentials of the nation’s ports and inland waterways as a boost to the transformation agenda of the federal government. Green fields should be developed in such a way as to avoid over capacity which could lead to redundancy of the ports.
“The problem of high cost of developing green fields could be solved by approaching international financiers. If the port authority has impressive revenue profile and good tariff structure, financiers including local and international financial institutions would be attracted to invest.”
The port users observed that the nation’s ports could no longer cope with the increasing cargo and vessels traffic.
There is need to develop green field ports in order to take the pressure off the existing ports.
They added that the ports are overstretched and no longer sufficient for the volume of cargo coming into the country, hence the need for Greenfield port development.
They noted: “Nigeria’s cargo export will grow much sooner with government’s emphasis and renewed drive on Agriculture and non-oil exports, making the development of green ports very imperative.
“ Nigerian-bound cargoes currently being diverted to neighbouring ports would return sooner than later when the right measures are put in place especially if the long import prohibition list is shortened. When this happens, the ports will be further over-stretched.
“ The Inland Container Depots (ICDs) expected to relieve the ports are yet to come on stream and to make the desired impact.”