The Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) has urged maritime stakeholders to support ongoing automation of the nation’s seaports.
Speaking as one of the panelists at the 2022 annual Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) conference in Lagos, Assistant Director Stakeholder Services, Nigeria Shippers Council, Adaora Nwonu, stressed the need for full automation of the country’s ports, adding that, it is crucial to boost export.
According to her, there has been a significant improvement in the country’s ports with the introduction of the electronic call-up system by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), which has reduced the gridlock that usually characterized Apapa and its environment, and reduced export time by almost 50 per cent .
“We have advocated that we must automate. Automation is the key. When you automate, it takes care of all the arbitral manual processes. So, we cannot run away from it” she said.
She added that the reduction in the number of government agencies physically present at the ports has also contributed to the current improvement in the country’s ports, noting that automation would further reduce the number of agencies needed in the ports.
“We can’t run away from the fact that we need to automate our ports, our processes. We have been doing that to ensure port processes are seamless. We ensure documents are exchanged remotely in an automated manner. Every operator in the port right now must automate their processes.
“If we have the scanners for example, in less than five minutes we scan and the data is shared with every other agency. That is what a scanner does” Mrs Nwonu said.
“We at the Shippers Council know that if we don’t export, we will perish. The more trade we facilitate, the more trade will happen. So, having this at the back of our mind, means that we are doing everything within our purview to ensure that we facilitate trade. The more trade we do, the more economic prosperity for us.”