The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said a total of 18 ships discharged petrol, bulk wheat, general cargo, gypsum, bulk sugar, palm oleum, bulk coal, automobile gasoline and jet fuel, among other items, at Lagos ports.
The authority also said that 16 other ships are expected to arrive the ports between the 18th and 30th day of January, carrying frozen fish, containers, bulk sugar, general cargo, bulk salt, base oil, bulk gypsum and petrol. It further noted that five other ships had arrived the port and were waiting to berth with jet fuel, automobile gasoline and petrol, bringing to 39 the cumulative number of ships expected to berth in Lagos within the period under review.
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged African countries to expand and diversify their participation in international trade to explore the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Buhari made the call during the recently held ninth African Shippers’ Day, with the theme: “African Continental Free Trade Agreement: A Veritable Platform for African Shippers’ to Mainstream into Global Trade.” The Nigerian leader said that the participation of African countries in international trade would create wealth, generate employment and reduce poverty.
However, according to him, deepening regional integration to scale up supply capacity and build regional value chain was essential to the continent’s economic transformation.
“For AfCFTA to have a positive influence on long-term investment in productive capacities, African government must develop appropriate supporting policies, build the requisite infrastructure and ensure an educated work force.
“We will need to actively promote productive employment and decent work place, women’s empowerment, food security and reduction in inequalities,” he said.
Buhari maintained that, in Nigeria, AfCFTA would be a game-changer when it comes to stimulating intra-African trade because the more ambitious the trade liberalization, the greater the expansion of Nigerian exports to its African partners.
According to him, “specifically, Nigeria’s exports to the rest of African will increase by more than 15 per cent in fishery, textile, leather, wood and papers, metals, electronics, vehicles and transport equipment and machinery.
“Following the AfCFTA reform, Nigeria’s exports will increase significantly to other African sub-regions, outside West Africa, with most impressive expansions to countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.”
He noted that for AfCFTA to be the platform that would propel African importers and exporters onto the global trading platform, participating member countries must undertake bold domestic structural reforms to scale up the supply capacity of the region.
In his contribution, Dr Bashir Jamoh, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), urged the forum to come up with roadmap that would place Africa ahead of others in the international market.
Jamoh noted that collaboration between shipping, port and logistics would go a long way in ensuring efficiency and sustainability in the industry.
On his part, Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said that automation remained vital tool for port efficiency. The NPA Boss said that was why the NPA was working with the International Maritime Organization to deploy Port Community System in Nigerian Ports to bring all stakeholders under one platform for ease of doing business.
Earlier, Emmanuel Jime, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, said the re-orientation and re-organization of intra-African trade should start from the sub-region. According to him, when the region gets it right in West and Central Africa, it will be much easier to connect and freely trade with other regions of the continent.
Jime reiterated that African countries need to create smooth integration of their transport networks and trade policies, as well as the required awareness among the economic operators in the sub-region.