The Federal Government has moved to reduce human traffic into the Nigerian ports as it says that the ports have achieved 70% digitalization.
This is to help drastically reduce inefficiencies, corruption, diversion of money, revenue leakages and constant delays being experienced at the various ports by stakeholders and other ports users.
This disclosure was made by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, on Friday at a news conference on the first quarter activities of the council in Lagos.
The NSC boss said that the 70% digitalization was lower than the 90% targeted by the council in the first quarter of 2021, which although it did not achieve, it is still pushing to actualise.
What the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Executive Secretary is saying
Bello in his statement said, “Most of the ports in the world are digitized, Nigeria cannot be an exception. We cannot have a multitude of people going into the ports every day, human contact in the ports is very dangerous, it is anti-efficiency and once there is human contact, there will be corruption and then delay.
Some people don’t even have any business to go to the port but you see them there, what are they doing?
We have been working with shipping companies and terminal operators to ensure we make the deadline we set for the first quarter but we saw it was not feasible to attain 90% digitalization. What we were able to do on the average was 70%, but digitization of the ports is a process in the making. We want this to happen as quickly as possible,” he said.
He said that the port was not a place for contact, as one could move millions of tons of cargo with a computer adding that they were happy to announce that the council was on course.
Bello noted that a non-contact port was the solution to many problems in the system such as delay which caused demurrage, diversion of money, corruption and revenue leakages.
He said that digitization would make our ports more competitive, noting that the country had competitors in West and Central Africa sub-regions.
On the level of digitalization of shipping companies, he said that Grimaldi had 88%, Ocean Network Express 76%, and CMA CGM 63%, among others, while for seaport terminals, PTML had 92%, and in Port Harcourt, Intels, BUA and Wact had 70% digitalization each.
He said, “Where we are having problems is on reforms and claims processes which is mostly manual but we have some that scored 50%. Also, the second phase is the integration of systems because anybody can be online but there is a need to integrate with the banks for example and even the Nigeria Customs Services.’’
What this means
The digitalization of operations and reduction of human contact at the ports is going to greatly increase efficiency, reduce corruption and ensure that more revenue comes to government coffers.
This will also help eliminate the illegal activities of louts at the ports, improve on the ease of doing business, promote a clean environment at the ports and tackle the menace of illegal trading activities which also degrades the environment at those facilities.