Nigeria has scored Grimaldi Group, CMA CGM and Ocean Network Express (ONE) high in compliance with her automation policy of shipping and maritime activities aimed at improving vessel turnaround and cargo dwell times in the ports.
On the automation ratings done by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Grimaldi scored highest with 88%, Ocean Network Express with 75% and CMA CGM had 60%. Other shipping lines whose names were not mentioned scored as low as 20 %.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello revealed this in Lagos last week and chided shipping lines that scored 20 % and urged them to take the automation serious which was designed by the government to speed up cargo clearance in the ports.
Bello who noted that most shipping lines had challenges linked with refunds and claims processing commended PTML which scored 92% and BUA with 75% and encouraged other terminals to up raise the bar.
According to Bello, some shipping lines and terminals in the country would attain a minimum of 90 percent automation by June and the digitalization would help curb delays, boost efficiency and reduce revenue leakages in the port system.
“We shouldn’t forget that we have competition. Nigeria ports should be the hub in the West and Central Africa region. However, we can’t achieve this without ports that are fully automated and operate 24 hours daily. Most ports across the world are digitized. Human contact is dangerous; it brings delays and extortion.”
Bello said the existing seaports in the country are outdated and harped on the need to have deep seaports while stressing that the economies of scale and modern trends support deep seaports.
“We know that Apapa and Tin Can are tired ports that can’t be dredged further. Ships shouldn’t stay in other nations and transship to Nigeria. It should be the other way round. The development of deep seaports such as Lekki could be a game-changer in that regard.”
He also added that the Council is exploring all alternatives to expedite the development of viable dry ports and truck transit parks across the nation via public-private partnerships (PPP).
“Inland waterways via barges are also an alternative for cargo evacuation. This hasn’t been perfected because there are security, safety and tariff structures that need to be addressed. There is an overall issue of standardization,” he said