Maritime operators at the just-concluded Lagos Maritime Expo, (NIMAREX), have tasked the Federal Government to improve on port infrastructure, to boost maritime trade.
One of the exhibitor and a shipping operator working with RANGK Ltd, Mr. Moses Macaulay while speaking at the closure of expo in Lagos, urged the Federal Government to improve on port infrastructure, adding that “The port infrastructure we have is not adequate but the Federal Government is trying. Government should try and extend the type of modern port facilities in Onne port to other ports, including Lagos ports’’.
Head, Chartering, Destiny Maritime and Shipping Ltd, Mr Dike Osita lamented the state of the constant gridlock in Apapa and Tin-Can ports access roads which has affected company’s income and urged the government to invest in rail transportation to boost inter-modal transportation of goods and then decongest the access roads to the ports.
On her part, the Marketing/Public Relations Officer, West Atlantic Shipyard, (WAS), Miss Juliet Orji said full participation by stakeholders in future maritime expos would create room for a full grasp of activities in the industry and to tap into the opportunities in the maritime sector.
In his goodwill message to the opening of the expo, a former of Head State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), who was represented by Vice Admiral Samuel Afolayan (rtd.), disclosed that a road map was needed on how to tap the maritime potential of the nation in order to transform the Nigerian ports to become the hub of the West Africa sub-region.
The former head of state said Nigeria had over 400 nautical miles and large human resources, while 80 per cent of the nation’s maritime resources remain untapped.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello also suggested that the Federal Government should provide the enabling environment for the growth of the maritime industry, stressing that investors in the sector were operating under an unfavourable climate, especially without power supply for the terminal operators.
“The access roads for evacuation of cargo through the ports and other terminals are extremely difficult to go through. It is our duty to make it clear to the government that this is the time it needs to step in comprehensively so that the maritime industry will make its expected contributions to the economy,” Bello said.
In a message to the Expo, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who was represented by Mr Callistus Obi, Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, said the agency was willing to partner with all stakeholders toward the growth of the industry.
According to DG NIMASA, there must be development of indigenous capacity in the sector, adding that “because without the development of indigenous capacity, we will remain where we are. “The crew on-board vessel is a critical issue NIMASA is working toward to make sure Nigeria has enough seafarers. That is why we are organising the National Seafarers Development Programme.
“NIMASA has also established a maritime university and also commenced maritime courses in some universities, to build indigenous capacity”.
He pledged that NIMASA would look into the operational difficulties in the implementation of the Cabotage Act, to develop indigenous vessel acquisition capacity.
The Managing Director of NPA, Alhaji Sanusi Ado Bayero, urged maritime practitioners to emulate other nations by utilising the nation’s maritime endowments to develop the economy.