The Nigeria’s House of Representatives said the country is losing an estimated $7 billion annually as a result of poor management of seaports.
This followed the adoption of a motion moved by Mr Julius Ihonbvere and Mr Ibrahim Isiaka, on the need to “investigate gaps and loss of opportunities in the maritime Sector”.
“Nigeria’s seaports receive barely 10% of West African imports out of 60 percent destined for Nigeria, a significant economic loss due to poor management and inefficiencies, estimated to cost $7 billion annually,” the motion said.
Ihonbvere, in his lead debate, stated that the maritime sector is crucial for survival of the country’s economy.
However, he noted that there are under-utilised seaports which can increase the country’s revenue and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, “most ships bringing goods to Nigeria prefer to go to other ports order than Nigerian ports.
Indeed the Benin Republic benefits from Nigeria’s large market, while Cotonou remains a popular importer’s haven,
huge trade cargoes are lost to Togo and other neighbouring countries.”
“Why is the nation unable to provide adequate infrastructure and reduce pressure on Lagos ports and why the Calabar, Port Harcourt, Warri, and Koko ports cannot be developed as a haven for importers in the region.
“The lack of adequate infrastructure and capacity in the growing cargo and maritime business is a significant issue;
Disturbed that Nigeria’s Apapa Port lost West Africa’s leading position due to congestion and poor quality services to shippers.
“Port of Lomé, with a capacity of 1.1 million twenty-foot containers, overtook Lagos Port due to Modernisation reforms which tripled its capacity from 311,500 containers to 3.1 million, thus, making ‘Togo’s Port of Lomé becoming a regional transit hub.”
Ihonbvere noted that ” Nigeria’s Apapa Port, Lagos, which handles about 1 million TEU annually, lost 30 percent of its container traffic for over five years due to several factors bedevilling its inability to deliver efficient services to cargo owners.
“This explains why Nigerian ports have remained inefficient over the years. Nigeria’s major seaports in Lagos do not have deep draughts to handle bigger vessels,
“While modern seaports in Port of Lomé have a depth of 16.60 meters and capacity to accommodate third generation ships Apapa port operates with a 13,5 meters draught that can only allow vessels with about 4,000 TEUs of containers to call the port. ‘
The House therefore mandated its Committees on Port and Harbours, National Planning and Economic Development, Maritime Safety Education and Administration and Nigerian Shippers’ Council to investigate the gaps militating against the full realisation of the economic advantage of ports, harbours and other blue economy in the country.