The management of the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, has offered to train the Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) staff and offer their experience on how Nigeria Ports can efficiently meet International standards.
Speaking at a meeting with the management of the Shippers’ Council in Lagos on Thursday, Manager Port Projects, Port of Antwerp International, Mr Philippe Droesbeke, said that they came to the country to offer their experience and partnership with Nigerian institutions, organisations and companies in the maritime sector.
According to him, “we have a long lasting history in the Port of Antwerp and we are here to offer our experience and partnership with Nigerian institutions, organisations and companies in the maritime sector,” he said.
He stated that multi-modality was one of the solution of the congestion at the Nigerian port, urging the country to shift from the road to other modes, such as the barges.
He informed that the Port of Antwerp does 140 million tonnes of cargo in a year and this was due to the multimodal approach that they do,
He said the train does 50 per cent, barge 40 per cent and truck 10 per cent, informing that they’ve been able to get a large part of their cargoes off the road.
While noting that in logistics, there is need to look for the logical way of resolving things stating that if perishables are on the west side and development was done on the east side of the country, it was not logical at all.
He urged the country to invest in its port adding that with the steady growth in cargo flow, there was need to invest, involve in the right equipment to yield efficient way of working.
Speaking also the NSC boss, Mr. Hassan Bello stated that the council is familiar with the training, while stating that the interest of the Council is ensuring interconnectivity of Nigeria ports and the development of Inland Dry ports in the country.
He said “We are familiar with this cause and we are going to study it.
“As for consultancy, we are always interested in interconnectivity, we have ports and we have inland ports also which we call the dry port, we are interested in having this dry port meet international expectation how the dry port will look like in Nigeria economy, especially for our export, we want to make them export centers
“So what are the infrastructures that are necessary to make them full port, if they are port of destination or origin, then they have to be so equipped service with rail, we have one operating in Kaduna, but the rail capacity is not anything to be proud of and then there are others things that must be there; like consolidation centers, stripping of containers, warehousing, companies that processes and add value to agricultural products and also packaging companies.
“So there is a need for us to have a study on what are the other values that will make a dry port be a port and then we will also work on the logistic chain to reduce transport cost and also have competitive products because Nigeria products suffers from packaging, sometimes and so many other things so that is one area which we may have interest”, he said.
Speaking also during the courtesy visit, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce in Lagos, Paulette Van Trier expressed delight at the meeting, noting that the Chamber has been working assiduously to improve trade between both countries.
She said, “We are trying to ensure produce to the ports timely so that the goods can get to the international market and spread all around the world. We hope that we can work together, have a positive partnership and improve exports from Nigeria, thanks to Shippers’ Council.”
“As a Chamber, we aren’t asking for money. We just want farmers and other exporters to know how the process is done globally. We are providing Nigerians with examples via teachings and trainings to make people aware of global best standards and practices.” She said.