By Samson Echenim
Absence of rail transportation system in Nigerian ports has continued to be a source of worry to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of the authority has said.
Usman expressed the authority’s concerns over inadequate rail infrastructure at the ports while receiving members of the House of Representatives Committee on Ports who were on a working visit to the NPA headquarters, Marina Lagos, weekend.
She assured the lawmakers of the authority’s determination to ensure effective service delivery in all Nigerian ports with the intention of making the nation’s ports more competitive and become a hub in the sub-region.
According to a statement by Adams Jatto, general manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications, the NPA boss explained that the authority was working to reduce the dwell time of cargo at the Ports as well as embrace multimodal transportation through the use of locomotive trains and barges for the evacuation of cargoes in and out of the Ports to the hinterlands.
“Over 95 percent of the cargoes coming into the Ports are taken through trucks and that is not efficient. There must be multimodal means of transportation to include trains and barges in order to reduce congestion and we are working towards this,” said Usman, who was represented by Mohammed Bello-Koko, executive director, Finance and Administration.
Garba Datti Mohammad, chairman of the committee, in his remarks, told stakeholders that the visit to the ports was to avail the committee with the workings of the ports and to find out ways that the House could enhance port operations.
“It is necessary for members to see things for themselves and also meet with the operators so that we could better appreciate activities and operations of not only the NPA, but also terminal operators and other service providers,” he said.
Mohammad stated further that the visit was to appraise the 2019 budget performance in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to ministries, departments and agencies of government during the presentation of the 2020 budget.
He concluded by commending the management of the NPA for the positive developments in the sector since its assumption of office and assured of the committee’s willingness to partner with the authority towards improving the maritime sector given its importance to the national economy.