Why NAGAFF supports proposed diversion of vessels to Eastern Ports

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has backed a proposal by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to begin the diversion of vessels to the Eastern ports, in efforts to check congestion at the Lagos ports.

President of NAGAFF, Chief Uche Increase, made this known during a news briefing organised by the association to discuss issues of concern in the maritime industry.

He described the initiative as very vital at a time when the Lagos ports where battling with a myriad of challenges, particularly the dilapidated access roads to the ports, which causes cargo trucks to spend days on the road.

His words: “The diversion of vessels to the Eastern ports is a good initiative. What NPA is doing is not wrong, because at present, the port access roads are not in good shape, as port congestion is leading to hopelessness on the access roads.

“Recall that years ago, the Federal Government took similar steps to diverting vessels to Calabar Port due to congestion in Lagos. So, it is a good idea.

“However, there is urgent need to make our ports competitive like what obtains in other places. In reality, it is obvious that Lagos ports cannot be expanded anymore.

“So, we must put measures in place to develop our port industry and operate in line with global best practice.”

Speaking on the occasion, the NAGAFF Founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, in his contribution, urged the Federal Government, the Nigeria Customs Service and all relevant agencies concerned to tidy up all that needs to be done in order to have the borders reopened.

He said that the government, through the concerned authorities, should be able to ascertain the impact of the border closure on trade thus far, and by so doing, understand the best dynamics to manage the system.

He said “Government should review what prompted border closure to see if such objectives have been met, in order to re-open the borders for regional integration to thrive.”

Aniebonam also urged the members on the need to comply with import regulations to enhance cargo clearance processes at the ports.

In the same vein, Aniebonam added that the collection of Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) would support capacity building programmes beneficial to members.