The Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), on Thursday in Kano, unveiled an operational manual for Inland Dry Ports to enhance efficiency at the ports across the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, who spoke at the official launching of the manual, said it would address operational gaps, and boost transparency and accountability in the sector.
He said the operational manual which would be launched in Kano, Port Harcourt and Lagos respectively would provide detailed processes and procedures for the main activities of the Inland Dry Ports.
“The strategic importance of producing the manual which articulates the step-by-step procedures for receiving, storing, handling and delivery of cargoes as well as highlighting the operations, the responsibilities of agencies and timeline for discharging such tasks was sine-qua-non,” he said.
Represented by Director Inland Transport Service, Philip Eduwa, Jime said the operators and the regulators are compelled to abide by the operational processes as contained in the manual.
The NSC boss explained that activities in the operational manual include, container import by rail, container export by rail, container import by truck, container export by truck, customs controls and empty container storage.
Jime said the manual specifically describes functions and activities of the dry ports, layout design and aligns dry ports operations to international best practices.
According to Jime, the manual will be used as a measure of performance by the regulator and will be subjected to future review.
He said the Ports projects were conceived as part of the Federal Government’s reform programmes in the transport sector to promote efficient transportation and engender trade facilitation.
Jime said the Federal Executive Council granted approval for the establishment of Inland Dry Ports in March 2006 at six locations across the country.
He listed the ports to include Isiala-Ngwa in Abia; Erunmu in Oyo, Heipang in Plateau, Funtua in Katsina State, Maiduguri in Borno, and Dala Dry Port in Kano State, which would soon be commissioned.
The executive secretary restates the commitment of the agency and the Federal Ministry of Transport in providing the enabling environment for dry port projects nationwide to operate optimally.
Earlier, the representative of the Minister of Transport, Ewoche Victor, a Deputy Director in the ministry, said the projects were developed through Public Private Partnership using the build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model.
He said the manual was based on best international practices adapted to the local context, but not fully customised for each dry port and each port would have its own specialities.
The minister noted that effective operations of a dry port require seamless coordination between the seaport and other key stakeholders involved in port operations.
He described the launching of the manual as a milestone to fast-track the development and operations of IDP projects in the country.