LAGOS – By Victoria Hanson The Acting Managing Director, Ports And Cargo Handling services limited, a subsidiary of Sifax Group, Mohammed Bulangu, has identified the various areas in which the government needs to address in order for the country to take advantage of the on -going green field seaport development.
Balangu who identified these solutions while delivering a lecture on “Green field Development Imperative For Port Development In Africa “at the African Day Of Seas and Oceans hosted by NIMASA, said that the challenges could be addressed if the government guarantee safety and security of lives and investments put into the development of green field projects, adding that there is an urgent need to deploy adequate security within the country’s territorial waters to checkmate the activities of pirates and sea robbers.
He also called on the government to provide modern infrastructure, integrated transportation system which he said include good road network, efficient rail system as well as revitalisation of inland waterways for the movement of persons and goods.
Others are attractive incentives for investors, including friendly tax policies streamlining of operational procedures for smooth service delivery.
He disclosed that with the continued increase in global seaborne trade and vessel sizes deployed to many routes for economies of scale operation, need for new ports development with deep draft operation, need for new ports development with deep draft and large stacking areas for transhipment and transit cargo are becoming imperative.
According to him, “new trends in maritime trade also dictated that new port development takes into considerations a shift from its traditional roles as only destination of imports for the country and its exports, but as hubs for connection and transhipment to other ports, green field port development within supply chain now comes with activities such as cargo /warehouse, sorting packaging, ship repairs, fuelling discharge and many more ”
The acting MD enumerated the challenges to include unstable government policies, lack of safety and security of funds invested by promoters, comfort of investors not guaranteed and non-provision of adequate measures to ensure continuity as well as lack of infrastructure, efficient transport system among others.
He pointed out that one important missing link which could be observed at the port development projects Nigeria is embarking upon now, such as green field ports at lekki, the proposed port at Badagry and also the Olokola port on the boarders of Ogun State is accessibility.
On the completion of these ports, he reteirated that if some of these key challenges of which accessibility is the chief, are not addressed, there is a tendency for serious environmental and economic issues to arise especially with the Lekki port.