The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has set March 2021 as the deadline for the digitalization of operations at the nation’s seaports.
Speaking exclusively to Shipping Position Daily last week, the Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr Hasan Bello disclosed that the agency has commenced the process for the digitalization of port activities, adding that it is working with relevant stakeholders to achieve the March 2021 target.
Bello informed that the council will not wait for the materialization of the single window platform, stating that having a contactless and paperless port will reduce the waiting time and evacuation of cargoes and as well simplify the procedures and reduce cost of doing business at the ports.
He further said digitization of Nigeria seaport operations will among other benefits, raise the significance in tracking of cargoes to various destinations across the world and as well reduce procurement problems.
Justifying the need for digitalisation, he said: “We need to have a contactless port; we need to have a port that will not need many paperwork or documentation, we need to have transparent transaction and reduce the delays and minimize corruption as much as we can, because corruption is one of the issues disturbing Nigerian ports”.
“When you look at the extortion of truck drivers, multiple checkpoints after cargoes have been cleared from the port by customs or the deliberate attempt by certain port institutions to cause delay deliberately to claim charges demurrages”, he stated.
According to him, some terminals are already doing well in terms of operations and provision of equipment and that shippers have also expressed preference for such terminals.
“Although, it is a very good thing that we have found some terminals and shipping companies that are very honest and which have made their terminals as a model, so we have looked at those terminals and even shippers want to take their goods to these terminals, so we have identified them and we are using them as benchmark for other terminals
“We cannot rely on the road as the only means of transportation, we must engage the rail and inland waters, we can operate 24 hours when the port is digitalized”, he said.