The perennial congestion on port roads, caused by failed and inadequate infrastructure, can be drastically reduced if barge transportation and off-dock facilities are developed for the movement of consignments from the Lagos ports, maritime stakeholder, SIFAX Group, has said.
Canvassing credible alternatives to road transportation as a way out of the ugly situation, the Executive Director, SIFAX Off Dock, Capt. Ibraheem Olugbade, said the “shipping lines and agents should be encouraged to key into the use of barges for transfer (of cargo) in view of the poor state of the port access road.
“Aggressive transfer of cargoes through barges to the various off-docks in Lagos will help decongest the port in a great way and help the port reach its maximum potentials.”
He also urged the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and other relevant agencies to vigorously implement the policy on inland container depots at the designated areas across the country, as an important leeway to decongest the ports.
“The idea of floating inland container depots or off-docks in various parts of the country is a very good initiative by the government,” a statement by the Corporate Affairs Manager, Muyiwa, cited Olugbade to say.
“Though it is yet to yield desired result, there is a need to pursue its implementation with more commitment. Off-docks are still very much relevant in Nigeria’s maritime business model. They will always help to decongest the ports and bring about efficiency in port operations.”
He noted that SIFAX Group’s belief in off-dock as a good port decongestion strategy is behind its current massive investment in off-dock facilities and acquisition of new ones in various locations across Lagos, adding that this will engender easier clearing process and faster consignment movement.
Meanwhile, he condemned the indiscriminate siting of off-docks in Lagos, calling on relevant government agencies to strictly enforce the policies guiding the siting of off-docks in the state to avoid environmental hazards.