Terminal operators operating at the nation’s seaports have identified shallow channel draft, decaying ports infrastructure and high cost caused by incidents of corruption as reasons Nigeria is yet to become a preferred destination in West and African sub-region.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) tagged ‘Making Nigerian Ports as the Preferred Destination in West and Central African Sub-Region,’ Taiwo Afolabi, the executive vice-chairman of Sifax Group, said that Nigerian ports must deploy ICT to reduce human contact and become a hub.

Afolabi who was represented by Henry Ajetunmobi, the general manager, Sifax Haulage said there is an urgent need for the country to widen all mode of cargo evaluation from the port.

“For Nigeria to be a preferred destination in West and African sub-region there is need for government to sustain progress recorded in the development of deep seaport in Nigeria.

“There is also need to improve the cargo handling equipment in our terminals. We must institute port tariff regime that is customer friendly and competitive.”

Afolabi also decried high level of piracy and sea robbery on Nigerian territorial water and multiplicity of government agencies at the ports. He also charged government to address insecurity at various border stations for stakeholders to do business with the country.

“High incident of corruption has led to high cost and closure of companies in the country as well as low level of automation of service delivery in the Nigerian ports.”

Also speaking, Kayode Farinto, the national publicity Secretary of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), lamented over the interception of containers by officers of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigeria Police.

He said SON had turned itself into a revenue generating agency instead of maintaining standards at the port.

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