Stakeholders in the port industry has said that private sectors should partner with government to develop green field ports in order to decongest the over stretched old ports in the country.
It was at a summit jointly organised by Golden Edge Consult Limited and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos.
The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar explained that government had recognised that partnering with the private sector was a sure way of engendering a sustained development of the maritime sector.
The minister who was represented by the Deputy Director, Maritime services in the ministry, Mr David Kumuyi explained that the Nigerian Ports Authority had been partnering with other stakeholders in the industry to develop green field deep seaports at Lekki, Ibaka in Akwa Ibom State, Olokola in Ogun/Ondo states and Badagry in Lagos State.
He said: “ Apart from generating jobs for thousands of our young compatriots, the multiplier effects will be very visible on the economy.”
Echoing him, the Managing Director of Golden Edge Limited, Mr Samuel Egbewole said that the country must Consult harness all her potentials to develop the port sectors He noted: “It has been realised that the country is losing as much as N1.5billion to activities of foreign ports and shipping operations due to various factors.
Also, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, former managing director of NPA lamented the state of the existing ports.
He noted that the ports in the country were not sufficient enough to hold the volume of cargo coming into country.
Sarumi said: “ Our ports are over stretched If we must attain the expected goals the country must shift from brown port development to green field port development. Nigeria has not utilised 10 percent of its water front.”
The Managing the Director of APM Terminals Apapa Limited, Mr. Dallas Hampton also said that container throughput at the ports in Lagos is expected to hit 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the next six years.
Hampton, who stated this while delivering a paper titled: An overview of the Nigerian Ports’ Location as a Major Determinant of the Greenfield Port Success in Nigeria at the First Nigerian Green Ports Development Summit organised by Golden Edge Consult Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) today in Lagos said the maximum capacity that the ports and Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in Lagos can accommodate is 2.2 million TEUs.
Represented by the company’s Media Advisor, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, Hampton said that Lagos ports, made up of both Lagos Port Complex Apapa and Tincan Island Port Complex, are already congested and rely heavily on ICDs.
“Lagos ports alone handle 90per cent of the cargo in and out of Nigeria. With container volumes forecasted for Lagos, the combine capacity of Apapa fully developed and Tincan Island Port and all the ICDs in Lagos area is expected to be inadequate within the next six years”, he said.
He said the same situation also applies to general cargo terminals.
“A new port will be needed to keep up with the demand for capacity as the existing ports are surrounded by the city and cannot be further expanded”, the APM Terminals boss stated.
He said new port development will give investors the opportunity to choose optimal geographical location, terminal design and layout plus processes.
“The natural location, the supporting infrastructure and the support of stakeholders are key success of a Greenfield port. In choosing the location of a Greenfield port, the factors that must be considered include natural deepwater and harbour and supporting navigational channels with commensurate draft”, Hampton stated.
Other factors, according to him, include lower risk of encroachment of city development in the immediate future, connection to multimodal infrastructure for evacuation of cargo by road, rail and barge, government support to the investors with policies that will protect investments, presence of adequate supporting services and review of cargo clearance processes to support faster cargo evacuation and reduce dwell time.
He said some investors are already looking at areas like Lekki, Badagry, Olokola and Ogogoro for Greenfield port development.
“APM Terminals as a port developer is not averse to seeking new opportunities in Nigeria under the right conditions”, he stated.
Hampton said that concession of the Apapa container to APM Terminals in 2006 has enhanced efficiency at the port and eliminated congestion and vessel queue thereby saving the Nigerian economy $200 million annually which used to be collected by shipping lines as congestion surcharge.
The First Nigerian Greenfield Port Development Summit was chaired by former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi.