Around the maritime nations, developed ports are known to be transit areas. In those ports, cargoes are moved and delivered at the designated points within a short period of time.
Today, it takes about three to four weeks to move a cargo from any Nigerian ports to the importers’ warehouse due to congestion and perennial gridlock that has bedeviled the ports access roads for years.
This has, however, hindered the development of the logistics and transshipment aspects of the nation’s maritime sector. As a result of unending problems of the nation’s port, Nigerian bound cargoes are now being diverted to the neighbouring countries.
But on different fora, stakeholders have brought series of ideas to the table on how to revive the nation’s ports. Unfortunately, those sitting at the helm of affairs are less concerned about the happenings in the Nigerian ports.
Ironically, Togo now hosts West Africa’s leading container port, snatching the position from Nigeria, according to the Netherlands firm, Dynamar, which provides intelligence and consultancy on maritime sector.
Again, the small country has dislodged Nigeria as logistics and transshipment hub in West Africa, a situation stakeholders described as a national shame. Nigeria’s loss has proven to be Togo’s gain as the small nation doubles down on reform and investment plans to transform itself into a pivotal transit hub in the Gulf of Guinea.
Spurred by many modernisation reforms, the Port of Lomé (PAL) has rapidly expanded indeed. The number of containers transiting by the port has almost tripled reaching 1,193,800 20-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU ) in recent times, while Nigeria is barely rose.
At the moment, the size of ships that berth at Lome, Togo, are more than double the size of the vessels that are currently passing out in Nigeria. It was reported that Nigeria’s ports dropped on the global ratings, basically due to bad infrastructure. Its major competitors in the West African region; the Togo, Senegal and Benin, all deliver better efficient services than Nigerian ports. This has also been attributed to a downward trend of traffic experienced at Nigerian seaports.
Presently, Nigerian seaports are not transit corridors for goods heading for landlocked countries in West Africa. Togo, Ghana, Benin, and Cote D’Ivoire provide a better route for moving goods to land-locked countries like Mali, Burkina, Niger, Chad than Nigeria because of the overall cost.
Despite its inefficiency, Nigerian ports are said to be among the most expensive in the world. Definitely, one of the most expensive in the sub region. It is cheaper to ship a container from China to Lagos port than to transport it from Lagos port to Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos State.
However, experts believe there is need to invest in ports in Nigeria to spur growth.
Speaking with Daily Sun, the President of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said that it is not only Togo, other countries like Ghana and Benin Republic have dislodged Nigeria, adding that Nigeria do not have any infrastructure for logistics when its ports are grounded with gridlock.
He added: “What you call logistics is the movement of cargo. Can you move your cargo in Nigeria? You cannot move your cargo now. We don’t have structure for logistics. Go to Togo and see what is happening there. People who are to take our ports serious are just sitting there doing nothi ng. Nigeria is going down and is finishing.
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“Togo and BeninRepublic, in terms of draft, are higher than Nigeria. And most of the ships are going to these countries now and they don’t come to Lagos.
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