By Stanley Nwanosike
The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has appealed to importers and exporters to patronise ports in the Eastern flank of the county to decongest ports in Lagos.
The NPA’s Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman, made the appeal at the NPA Special Day at the ongoing 29th Enugu International Trade Fair in Enugu on Saturday.
Bala-Usman said that patronising the Eastern ports would reduce trucks traffic on Lagos roads as well.
‘‘I wish to use this medium to appeal to importers and exporters to patronise the ports in the Eastern flank of the country, namely: Warri, Rivers, Onne and Calabar ports as this will decongest the ports in Lagos,’’ she said.
The managing director said that NPA had remained resolute in its drive to ensure that the nation’s ports remain safe, secure and customer-friendly, while delivering efficient port services.
‘‘I am glad to inform you that NPA is implementing with vigour, the Presidential Order on Ease of Doing Business in the nation’s ports.
“This is with a view to eradicating all bottlenecks to business transactions in the nation’s seaports.
‘‘We will like port users and stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector to take advantage of this development,’’ Bala-Usman said.
She maintained that the authority had continued with its vision statement of being the leading port in Africa and making our seaports a pride of the nation in service delivery.
‘‘We have made improvement in our port infrastructure, navigational aids and channels with 24 hours port operations, both for berthing of vessels and discharge of cargo,’’ the managing director said.
Bala-Usman said that NPA had been adhering to policies and strategies as they affect ports operations in ensuring speedy clearance of cargo, improved infrastructure and equipment.
She said that the authority would continue to improve intermodal transportation systems to encourage speedy transfer of goods from the sea ports.
‘‘We anticipate that government’s policies geared toward the diversification of the Nigerian economy will make our ports to attract transshipment of cargoes, which will help to boost our revenue,’’ Bala-Usman said.
Earlier, the President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Chief Emeka Udeze, commended NPA for always partnering with the chamber to educate members of the public on port operations and the ease of shipping their goods.
Udeze said: ‘‘We are not unmindful of the various measures to decongest our ports.
‘‘We say that a lot still need to be done, because importers, especially from this part of the country are still experiencing undue delay and unwarranted bureaucracy in clearing their goods at the ports.
‘‘We don’t know when the apportioning of blames amongst operators in the sector will cease.
‘‘We believe that what we need to do is to evolve more pragmatic and proactive approaches in resolving these negating issues in the maritime sub-sector, which have continued to be clogs in the wheels of our progress and development.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that theme of the fair, which has entered the ninth day, is: “Engendering the Competitiveness of Nigerian Products in the Global Market.”