The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has urged the Kaduna Inland Dry Port Ltd. (KIDPL) to engage exporters to ensure the issuance of Through Bill of Lading (TBL) for cargoes at the port.
Mr Bala Adamu, a top official of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council made the appeal at the Ministerial Implementation Committee (MIC) meeting with shipping companies in Lagos on Wednesday
The meeting was to deliberate on Issuance of Through Bill of Lading (TBL) for cargoes destined to Kaduna Inland Dry Port.
TBL is a legal document that allows for the transportation of goods both within domestic borders and through international shipment.
He said that as the KIDPL was seeking export, they should consider import, adding that there should be inward and outward of cargoes for the port.
“The KIDPL has been gazetted as a port of destination, so it has a legal instrument in its hands to pursue the TBL and Shippers’ Council has expended a lot of money to create an awareness but the KIDP needs to take the crucial step.
“The KIDPL needs to look inwards, the matter being discussed is an internal matter that needs to be addressed between it and the parent body, the Inland Container Nigeria Ltd.,” he said.
Adamu said that to ensure that KIDPL started issuing TBL, the council had engagement with shipping companies and allayed their fears, urging them to reach their principals on the need for them to issue the TBL.
He said that the Nigeria Railway Corporation was also sought on the need for improved number of wagons and locomotives and it promised resumption of service from the seaport in Lagos to KIDPL.
“Also, there will be review of haulage rate, a standardised rate to provide benchmark for cargo evacuation from the seaport to the inland dry port.
“The KIDPL should step up their game, nobody will push them to pursue vigorously importers and exporters. It should promise them incentives and should not continue to sing the same song.
“NSC is appealing to the KIDPL and their parent body ICNL, to embark on publicity to improve their visibility, synergise and collaborate with shipping companies, stating their volume and what they can guarantee them,” he said.
Also, Mr Victor Ewache, the Deputy Director, Inland Container Depot, Federal Ministry of Transportation noted that the Bill of Lading could be issued from any port, from China or any port in the world, even to Kano.
He pointed out that responsibility was on Kaduna dry port to generate cargo for export and imported cargoes could be transported there as empty containers would be taken back.
“This is a fruitful deliberation. One thing that occurred today is the testimony of attitude, that is the presence of shipping lines. We have not been having them and they are here to give us information on the Thorough bill of lading in favour of the KIDPL.
“Today they have been able to give us a lot of information that will help us ensure that the KIDP issues bill of lading,” he said.
He pointed out that some of the challenge pushed out by shipping companies, the Federal Government was on some of them.
“The issue of insecurity is everywhere but it is going to be solved gradually. In as much as government is on it, it is good to know that in each container that leaves the port, the Nigeria Customs provides security and about seven customs officers or more.
“Another challenge is lack of infrastructure, especially the vandalism of rail gauges but the Nigerian Railway Corporation had confirmed to us that most of the issues has been resolved, the one washed away by erosion and stolen ones by vandals have been replaced,” he said.
Mr Rotimi Hassan, the Port Manager, KIDPL noted that the port had challenges associated with shipping companies, customs and rail connection, adding that he was optimistic that by the end of the year, with today’s deliberation things would improve.
He said that he was working out strategies to ensure that issue of the TBL would be done with and sought the support of all stakeholders.
“On issues raised by shipping companies, on the ‘do-ability’ of the issuance of the bill, there is market and volume of cargoes in Kaduna and so a letter will be written to that effect to start with its commencement.
“I believe things will work out based on what we agreed on and the improvement seen and the railway corporation has promised that the rail will work and when that happens, others would fall in.
“The shipping companies are afraid of the safety and security of the good so if rail works, that will give a kind of motivation for them to come in,” he said.
Also Mr Yemi Odunowo, the Assistant Director Marketing, NRC, noted that fortunately, the KIDP was connected to the rail since it was the flagship for dry port.
“Unfortunately, during the lockdown, the communities where the infrastructure are located that are meant to protect them could not and people removed the rails.
“We have commenced repairs of damaged rail gauges due to vandalism and those washed away by erosion, all geared towards smooth operations at the port.
“We are about to commence loading from Kaduna to Apapa, but we will prefer that as we take import to North, the container will not come back empty,” he said.
Some of the shipping companies present for the meeting were: Alraine Shipping, COSCO, CMA CGM and SIFAX terminal.
As a way forward, the shipping companies urged government to tackle cargo transportation challenges such as inconsistency in cost, insecurity and buffer zone that had not been implemented.
They also urged the KIDP to use export to drive the TBL, saying that the port managers
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