The stakeholders, who spoke during a recent forum on local content optimisation in Lagos, observed that the existing ports in the country were fraught with challenges.
While making a presentation at the forum, a shipowner, Mr Andy Isichei, said that some ports were under utillised and the Nigerian Ports Authority had given incentives to shipowners to go to eastern ports but they had been reluctant due to several reasons including the shallow channel.
He said, “There is a need to encourage investment in the seaports, especially in the area of dredging and building of critical infrastructure. The reason why there are so many tank farms in Lagos, for instance, is that the eastern ports have shallow channels.”
Another stakeholder and the Secretary of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, Haulage division, Godwin Ikeji, who spoke in a separate interview with our correspondent, suggested that government should encourage investment in barges that could transport empty containers to ships instead of moving them by roads.
“Most of the trucks blocking the roads along Apapa and Tin Can Island are carrying empty containers which they intend to return to the seaport terminals. The government can encourage people to own barges which they can use to transport these empty containers from the point of delivery to the ships,” he said.
Responding, the Assistant General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA, Mr Isah Suwaid, told our correspondent that the agency had already set up a committee to look into the movement of cargoes in barges along the waterways.