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Shippers’ Council urges connectivity, modernisation in transport system

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello,
at the maiden Transportat Summit  in Abuja 
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian
Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has reiterated the importance of
connectivity in the various transport systems in the country, in order to ensure
rapid growth of the economy.

Bello said this in a keynote address at the
maiden National Transportation Summit organised by the Chartered Institute of
Transport Administration in Nigeria (CIoTA), on Tuesday in Abuja.

The theme of the event is: ”Unlocking
the Potentials of Transportation for Sustainable Development’’.

According to Bello, it is also
important to ensure the use of modern technology to fast track the nations
transport system to enable it compete with the global trends.

“If you have modern transport system,
it will affect your economy, if you have outdated infrastructure, your economy
will be sluggish and it will not grow.

“The growth of your economy depends
on the modernity of your transport infrastructure; we have not been able to do
that for a long time because we don’t have professionals running the transport

“So, we want the institute to look at
the economy seriously and situate transport within that context such that if
we have a dry port in Kaduna, it should bring economy to the door step of the

`We have lost billions of dollars to
freight; imagine what this country would have become if we owned the freight we
are paying for crude oil.

“If we want Nigeria to work, there is
no place to look at than transportation. It is important that we adjust our
transport system to the current trend,’’ he said.

According to Bello, lack of transport
infrastructure in the country has pushed the cost of production by 45 per cent.

He said: “The cost of doing business
in Nigeria and connectivity of pipeline, inland waterways, railway and air
transportation are critical.

“The port in Baro must be able to
speak to the Inland Dry Port in Kaduna. Nigeria’s transportation system lacks

“UNCTAD scored Nigeria very low over
lack of connectivity. We want CIoTA to take over and to concentrate in making
things better; they should begin massive advocacy by ensuring transport policy
for integrated infrastructure.”

Bello explained that there was massive
distortions in the transport system which, according to him, is not good for a
country that wants to diversify its economy.

He urged the institute to concentrate
on formulating a transport policy and work with key stakeholders to ensure
integrated infrastructure in the country.

“What we want is multi-modalism, but
we need inter-modalism more, where goods are brought by sea by the ship,
offloaded and taken by the train or inland waterways.

`There must be a policy that certain
percentage of goods must be carried by inland waterways, road, pipeline and a
majority by rail.

“If we have the pipeline, why will
tankers go to Apapa? We have chaos, indiscipline in Apapa and the port is
presently overwhelmed. That was why we said that the NPA should own the whole
of Apapa,’’ Bello added.

In his goodwill message, the Managing
Director, Nigeria Water Ways Authority (NIWA), Mr George Moghalu, urged the
institute to partner with various strategic stakeholders to drive the sector.

Moghalu expressed optimism that the
institute would ensure ways of expanding the transportation footprint across
the country.

He said: “This summit should offer
the opportunity to all stakeholders in the sector to discuss and generate
ideas  to enable a more efficient
transport management and administration in Nigeria.

“Stakeholders should, at this summit,
network and share information on ways of unlocking the potentials of the
industry for sustainable development.

“Also, practical solutions should be
proffered and factored into government policies and programmes to improve the
sector, create jobs and further grow the Nigerian economy,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
reports that the three-day event was attended by various key stakeholders in
the transportation sector. (NAN)

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