Experts in the Nigerian maritime industry have predicted that Nigeria will be losing about N1 billion Naira daily; to the outbreak of the Coronavirus that has killed hundreds of people.
With more than 50 percent of Nigeria‘s import coming from China, many of Nigeria importers are now afraid to take cargoes from China, even as those who usually travel during this period have canceled such plans.
In a recent Container Availability Index publication, looking at the world biggest port in Shanghai, China the Container Availability Index shows relatively high values for 40 HCs (0.58), 40DCs (0.46) and 20DCS (0.62). Every number above 0.5 indicates a surplus of equipment, meaning that containers are piling up in Shanghai port.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily the National Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr. Stanley Ezenga stated most of the cargoes coming into the country are from China, he urged that Nigeria must be at alert to prevent the deadly disease from penetrating into the country.
“The Coronavirus is a very big blow to Nigeria economy, because most of Nigeria Imports are from China, and presently nobody will want to take any consignment from China”
“From what we heard, we learnt that the disease can be transmitted through air, and if it is airborne, don’t let us forget that the air that will be in the container will be the air from China, so by the time the cargoes come here for customs examination, one can easily contact the virus. So I will advice both customs and freight forwarders when approaching the containers to cover their nose with face mask before approaching any container from China, and if the virus is airborne there is possibility that any of us can contact it”.
“For now we may not really feel the impact of the outbreak, because the outbreak is not up to a month, and for you take consignment from China normally it takes up to two to three month, because the products we have at the ports are products that left the country about two or three months ago,
“Because around this January, the Chinese normally go on their break, so within this period we don’t have much economic activities, so in terms of the loss, conservatively Nigeria might be losing N1 billion daily until there is remedy to this virus”.
Speaking also to our correspondent, the President of African Professionals Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) Mr. Frank Ogunojemetie, noted that the impact of the virus to Nigeria is huge, while calling on relevant authorities to take responsibility to prevent the disease from coming into the country.
He lamented that officials at the Nigeria airports are not well informed about the implication of the virus, as he lampooned the officials for not placing much priority on travelers from Asia.
“Of course, the Coronavirus is a big blow to Nigeria economy not just Nigeria but other countries of the world, basically we will not look at the economic impact alone, let us also look at the health impact, I came in few days ago and I realized that all people coming into the country still queue at the same place, whereas in the United State and the United Kingdom there are specific place for people coming from the Asia continent, and there is a public health care that do general test for anybody from Asia, but I realize that everybody are queued up at the same place, here in this country, this shouldn’t be and I will implore that the officials at the airports take drastic step to address this.
“We should also take the same measure at the nation’s seaports, by designating a special place for cargoes coming from China but we are very lucky the Chinese just started their holiday, so basically the cargo coming in will naturally be low, so the measures should be applied at the seaport, all the port must be equipped to prevent the spread of this deadly disease” he advised.
Speaking to our reporter on the effort of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) the head Media, Communications and Strategies for the service Dr. Dr. Chigozie Nwodo said the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service is collaborating with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ensure that there is no gap or breach on the veterinary quarantine front at the airports.
He said the World Health Organization has described the outbreak as an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring it a public health emergency of global concern because the death toll had yet to meet the threshold.
He however said notwithstanding at every single point of command for all agricultural quarantine activities in Nigeria; NAQS is obligated to buffer the nation from the potential introduction of this high-risk virus adding that officers are on professional guard.
Also officials of the Port Health Service (PHS) have started active surveillance tagged: “Inspection, Prevention and Control (ICP)’’ of passengers coming in and out of the Nigeria at the Seme border.
Some of the port health officials seen at the Seme border were stationed at both departure and arrival sides screening immigrants to detect any suspected of having the deadly diseases.
The officials were seen kitted with hand gloves and face masks, screening immigrants from both sides to detect any of the passengers suffering from Corona virus, Lassa fever and Yellow fever.