Auto policy will paralyse RORO terminals, Shippers' Council warns


The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Tuesday warned that the implementation of the automotive policy introduced by the Jonathan administration in 2013 has the potential of wrecking the operation of roll-on-roll-off (RORO) terminals in the country.

Deputy Director and Head, Public Affairs of the NSC, Mr. Ignatius Nweke gave this warning in Lagos on Tuesday at a Town Hall Meeting organised by Ships & Ports Communication Company to discuss implementation of the contentious policy.

“A word of caution and advice to NAC (National Automotive Council) because when you have a policy that is coming in and there are other policies that have been in existence, one needs to tread with caution.

“We need to understand what is on ground and gradually launch ourselves into the programme taking into consideration that some years back we went into port concessioning and some concessions were given to some ports in the area of the cargo that will come into such port and if you go up and say okay, fine, there are certain things in terms of importation and duties that will stop such cargoes coming in, the return on investment will be affected; the economy equally will be affected.

“So I advise, Nigerian Shippers’ Council equally advises, that we go into wide consultation with stakeholders. Consult as much as possible with the stakeholders, freight forwarders, NARTO (National Association of Road Transport Owners) and all that are required to make this policy a success,” Nweke said.

Several other stakeholders who attended the meeting cautioned against hasty implementation of the policy.

The general consensus was that Nigeria should focus on areas where it has comparative advantage like the manufacture of tyres.

Stakeholders at the meeting also advised that the Federal Government should allow auto assembly plants roll out Made-in-Nigeria vehicles first before applying high duty rates and levies on imported vehicles.

Meanwhile, checks revealed that activities at RORO terminals in Lagos have practically been grounded with the terminals handling less than 30% of their installed capacities.

The drop in cargo volume at the terminals is attributed to the hike in tariff as a result of the auto policy which has caused Nigeria to lose more than 60% of its import vehicle volume to the port of Cotonou.