In a pivotal moment for Nigeria’s maritime sector, a strategic meeting unfolded on Monday, January 15, 2024, at the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy. Attendees, including Hon. Minister Gboyega Oyetola and Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, aimed to chart a course that not only opens up ports but fosters seamless cooperation and trade facilitation. A key focus was the integration of non-invasive inspection technology (NIIT) to enhance operational efficiency in Nigerian seaports.
a. Priority on Scanning over Physical Examination:
Acknowledging NIIT’s role in decongesting ports, the meeting entrusted the Customs General to prioritize cargo scanning over traditional methods.
b. Repair and Utilization of Scanners:
Immediate action was endorsed to optimize existing scanners at ports like Apapa and Tincan Island, utilizing mobile scanners for expeditious cargo inspections.
c. Rail Freight to Inland Containers Depot/Dry Ports:
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) committed to freighting cargoes to Inland container depots and dry ports to alleviate congestion, with plans for efficient container evacuation.
d. Bypassing a Fixed Scanner During Rail Track Construction:
To ensure unhindered scanning during rail track construction, the NRC agreed to bypass the fixed scanner at Apapa.
e. Public-Private Partnerships for Scanning Installation and Maintenance:
Advocating for public-private partnerships to oversee scanning technology installation and maintenance, aiming to sustain efficiency and foster innovation in cargo inspection.
The collaborative synergy showcased in this meeting underscores the unwavering commitment of the Nigerian government to cultivate a conducive and efficient trade environment. The anticipated implementation of these resolutions is poised to positively impact port decongestion, trade facilitation, and overall operational efficiency and competitiveness.