Saturday, October 17, 2020

How Kaduna Dry Port May Boost Seamless Cargo Movement From Seaports

The Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports hinterland connections are mostly by road transport. This has made the Western Ports to have a relatively low modal share when it comes to road transport to ensure their hinterland connections.
In the last 15-years the modal split of freight carried by road from the Western Ports to other parts of the country is put at over 80 per cent.
The Western Ports which is the largest ports in Nigeria arguably has already one of the lowest modal splits for freight carried to and from the hinterland by road.
Moreover, road transport operators deal with congestion and delays as the road transport network has become increasingly saturated.
These elements have impacted not only on the activities of the road transport operators themselves, but also on the efficiency of the related maritime supply chain such as maritime carriers, terminal operators, shippers and consignees, affecting their competitiveness.
These have made the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to seek for ways to facilitate the use of Inland Dry-ports to bring cargoes closer to the people in order to decongest Lagos Ports.
One of the dry ports is the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which is Nigeria’s pilot project in dry port operations primarily aimed at bringing maritime activities closer to the hinterland.
It is like taking the known seaports and full Government agencies presence like the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and others to the Kakuri area of Kaduna where the port is situated.
Commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2018, the port is the first ahead of six other inland dry ports earmarked for different parts of the country in Ibadan, Aba, Kano, Jos, Funtua and Maiduguri.
The president hailed the importance of the port and urged customs and ports officials to be committed to making appropriate use of the facilities and make the port work.
At the commissioning, Buhari said, “The hinterland business community has waited for too long for such a facility that has tremendous potential to ease the way of doing international business for the interior based importers and exporters.
“The Development of Inland Dry Ports is an important factor in our economic development efforts. As Ports of origin for exports and ports of destination for imports, the Inland Dry Ports will accelerate the implementation of our economic diversification policy.
While some major infrastructural support required for smooth operation of the port like access road and rail are being attended to by Federal and Kaduna State Governments, shipping documentation and processes are far from perfect.
According to Rotimi Raimi, General Manager of the port, most shipping companies are yet to designate the port as the point of final delivery as they prefer using old names of existing seaports.
Raimi commended the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for being very supportive to the port in the areas of infrastructure and enabling business environment.
Raimi said, “The major challenge we are still facing is with shipping companies. Most shippers’ complain of shipping lines insisting on cargoes’ final delivery at Lagos/Onne/Tincan Island seaports.
“We are hoping for a better deal now that Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Ports Authority, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, and other stakeholders are fine tuning policy that will encourage shippers to get their cargoes destined to Kaduna inland Dry Port and other Inland Container Depots in Nigeria.
“In an ideal shipping process, cargoes destined to inland dry ports are the responsibility of the carrier from the country – port of loading (POL) to country – port of destination (POD), inland and ocean freight charges covering the payment made by shipper.
“Apapa/TCIP/Onne/Warri/Calabar seaports are mother or transit ports of discharge. Through bill of lading (TBL) applicable if shipping lines work in consonance with the shipper’s interest, then, the best practice is applied to Kaduna inland dry port and the process and procedure of inland dry port will be seamless.
“We projected 6,000 TEUs for year 2020, we would have surpassed the target but due to corona virus disease pandemic in February 2020 that cut across the countries worldwide that made it impossible.
“Presently, the port users are now receiving the dividends of port operations. They are harnessing the port closer to them, like being at their doorsteps as we are providing door to door shipping services,” Raimi said.
The port received about 3,500 TEUs or 68,420 metric tons of cargoes so far in the last nine months of this year while export forwarding has a lot of prospects with growing awareness.
The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) has appointed Cobalt International Limited as Pre-Inspection Agent while other private inspection agencies like Bureau Veritas have shown interest to operate from KIDP, as disclosed by Raimi recently.
Freight forwarders have the benefits to process with customs at the export seat and with other relevant units to transport export goods to ships in Lagos/Onne/Tincan island/Warri ports from Kaduna Dry Port.
Export activities are presently stalled temporarily due to the ongoing rail projects in Lagos and will kick-start soon as the rail lines are back in function.
COVID-19 pandemic that affected all sectors in the global economy also had its adverse impact on Kaduna Port.
The customs license agents operating in port had it difficult to pay duty and take delivery of cargos due to fear of contacting/ spreading of corona virus and government enforced movement restrictions
According to Raimi the losses were huge because it reduced expected container throughput since its outbreak in Nigeria in February, this year.
Kaduna State where the port is seated had its share of the pandemic hit which it has so far recovered from.
Having Kaduna Dry Port indicated in True Bill of Laden, fixing the railway leading from Lagos and other port cities to Kaduna as well as treating all cargoes destined for Kaduna Dry Port as fast track within customs control are key expectations.
Actualising these will not only save time but will help realise the objectives of the facility to the government, business community and the people.

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