Dakuku Peterside, director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has identified the need for the port system to be effectively connected to the railway, inland waterways and road transportation modes to achieve effective movement of cargo at the ports.

According to him, effective intermodal connectivity result to port efficiency, facilitates seamless transportation of goods and creates immeasurable positive effect on the economy.

Peterside, who said this while speaking at the Crans Montana Forum Club of Ports held in Brussels Belgium, said that the quality of the rail and road transport connection to a port, impacts on the cargo throughput of the port.

“The efficiency of a port is measured by the quantity of import and export cargoes handled in a day. A port with bad roads and rail facilities will have low cargo throughput. While ships start and end their journey in a port, the cargoes in most cases originate and end up far from the ports. This implies that without the connection of other modes of transport to the port, the system becomes crippled and the sea transport becomes inefficient,” Peterside said.

He stated that some port managers, particularly in developing countries are yet to understand the importance of an effective intermodal connectivity to efficiency at the ports.

He further said that the turnaround time of vessels in most African ports is too high due to inefficiency and lack of necessary port infrastructure which leads to longer dwell time for vessels and cargoes in the ports.

This, according to him, results to high cost for importers in form of demurrage, which eventually passed over to the final consumers. “While transport cost adds between 2 to 5 percent to the final cost of imported cargoes in developed countries, it adds as much as 15 to 50 percent in developing countries.

Peterside however disclosed that Nigeria under the current leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has through the Federal Ministry of Transportation invested heavily into linking all major seaports and airports to the cities through rail and good access roads to further boost the economy.

“Our quest to enhance the quality of the rail and road transport connection to all ports in Nigeria is to ensure seamless transportation of goods and services through the ports,” he added.

He charged port managers in developing nations to invest in effective intermodal connectivity to enhance their port operations, minimise vessel idle time in the port, reduce turnaround time of vessels, increase berth occupancy ratio of the port and make the port more competitive.

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