Customs, Marine & Blue Economy Deliberate On Improving Port Efficiency
By Ebenezer William
The Nigeria Customs Service in a collaborative move with the Ministry of Marine & Blue Economy and other stakeholders in the maritime industry met in Abuja on Monday 15th of January to fine-tune operations in Nigerian ports to better time management and optimal productivity.
A key focal point in the deliberation was the strategic integration of Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NIIT) to enhance operational efficiency in Nigeria’s seaports.
To this end certain resolutions were reached in the meeting which had dignitaries in the industry such as Hon. Minister of Marine and Blue Economy: Gboyega Oyetola, Hon. Minister of Transportation: Senator Said Ahmed Alkali, Comptroller General of Customs: Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, and Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC): Fidet Okhiria (Virtual Attendee).
Key Resolutions of the meeting included the following:
✅ Priority on Scanning over Physical Examination:*
Acknowledging the pivotal role of NIIT in actively decongesting ports, the meeting entrusted the Comptroller General of Customs with the mandate to champion and prioritize cargo scanning over traditional physical examination methods.
✅ Repair and Utilization of Scanners:*
Immediate action was endorsed to rectify and optimize all existing scanners at prominent ports such as Apapa, Tincan Island, Onne, and PTML. Simultaneously, the existing mobile scanners will be strategically deployed to facilitate expeditious cargo inspections.
✅ Rail Freight to Inland Containers Depot/Dry Ports:
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) pledged continued commitment to freight cargoes to Inland container depots/dry ports, a strategic move to alleviate congestion at major ports. Plans were unveiled for the efficient evacuation of containers from Port Harcourt to Aba, with future extensions envisaged for Onne Port.
✅. Bypassing Fixed Scanner during Rail Track Construction:*
Against the backdrop of rail track construction, the NRC concurred on a pragmatic approach by agreeing to bypass the fixed scanner at Apapa. This ensures the unhindered progression of the scanning process during crucial infrastructure development.
✅ Public-Private Partnerships for Scanning Installation and Maintenance:*
The meeting advocated for exploring Public-Private Partnerships to oversee the installation and maintenance of scanning technology. This collaborative model aims to sustain efficiency and foster innovation in cargo inspection processes.
The collaborative synergy witnessed in this meeting underscores the unwavering commitment of the Nigerian government to cultivate a conducive and efficient trade environment.
The anticipated implementation of these resolutions is poised to positively impact port decongestion, trade facilitation, and overall operational efficiency and competitiveness.