Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL) has lamented over the low patronage of Kaduna Inland Dry Port (KIDP) by shipping lines, northern state governments, factories in Kaduna and Kano and the neighboring country of Niger Republic months after its inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.
The lamentations were expressed by no other person than Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike, a director in KIDP, in company of the Managing Director of ICNL, Mr. Ismail Adekola Yusuf, at a media roundtable organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Apapa Lagos last week.
ICNL is the operator of the Kaduna Dry Port.
Nwabunike, who is the President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), attributed the low patronage of the Kaduna port to a lack of understanding of the principle of dry port by the target stakeholders who ought to make the place viable.
According to Nwabunike, ‘’ideally, the KIDP has been made a port of destination, meaning that it is a full-fledged port just like the Apapa seaport and any other port, so it should be a final destination for cargo if you have your True Bill of Laden (TBL)
According to him, the TBL has been the source of problems for the port as shipping lines that supposed to be giving importers the TBL were not doing that because they do not have logistics to transport cargoes from Apapa port to the hinterland.
‘’Normally, the foreign shipping companies are expected to charge the importer freight charges and deliver his cargo to the final port of destination. So many people want to import and have their goods final destination at the dry port, not Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri or Calabar, they would wait at the Kaduna to pick their goods. But you cannot puck your goods if you don’t have a TBL that states that the cargo is designated to Kaduna.
“Why is TBL not given to importers? We have met some of them that said they prefer to use Kaduna instead of Lagos and the gridlock. The shipping lines are saying that they cannot charge land freight to Kaduna Dry Port, they are supposed to charge the importer offshore so that when the cargo gets here, they will get it to Kaduna port, but the logistics now becomes a problem.
“The shipping lines do not have the capacity to get the trucks,
there is no locomotives and wagons from Nigerian Railway Corporation, so these
has become the bane.
“But we are looking forward to seeing how we can partner with a very big logistics company where we can have a serious bilateral relationship and agreement with all the shipping companies so that they can provide them vehicles that would be on a permanent price for an agreed period,” said Nwabunike.
On why the Niger Republic abandoned Nigerian Ports for ports in Benin Republic, Nwabunike stated that the Niger Republic prefers to import her goods through the Benin Republic seaport because the port does not ask for duties and no unstuffing of the goods over there unlike in Nigeria.
“But Nigeria is telling Niger Republic that their containers arriving here must be under seal, same containerised for onward delivery to the border of Nigeria and Niger. We have told them that this is the best for them because of the safety of the goods and safety,” said Nwabunike.
To change the trend, he called for sensitization of importers, exporters, and the neighboring countries, especially the Niger Republic which is very close to most Northern States in Nigeria.
“If we keep on folding our hands and expecting things to happen, we may not do very well, so we are having a relationship where we can have an MOU with logistics companies so that we can have movement of goods to KIDP”
“We are embarking on massive enlightenment programs, especially in the media, knowing that free market economy is the key”
“For us to put KIDP in place is not a joke; many of the other private companies do not have the capacity. The KIDP that has made bold to become the first should be encouraged so that others can come from behind and follow the queue.
“The federal government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Shippers Council is actually working hard to see that we are surviving, but it is not enough, we need a serious patronage on that,” he submitted.