In a bid to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Nigerian ports, the Ministers of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, and Transportation, Senator Ahmed Alkali, along with the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, reached a consensus on Monday to phase out physical inspections of cargoes at the ports.

Recognizing the need for modern technologies to address ports congestion, the officials emphasized the importance of utilizing scanners. They charged the Comptroller General of Customs to enforce the adoption of scanners at the ports and encouraged private investors to invest in deploying and maintaining this technology.

In a joint statement by the spokesperson for the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Ismail Omipidan, and Customs spokesman Abdullahi Maiwada, the officials resolved to construct a new facility that would bypass the fixed scanner at Apapa. This strategic move aims to ensure the smooth progression of the scanning process during crucial infrastructure development.

The meeting, held at the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, included the virtual presence of Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC). The officials advocated for Public-Private Partnerships to oversee the installation and maintenance of scanning technology, fostering innovation in cargo inspection processes.

The statement outlined immediate actions to optimize existing scanners at prominent ports like Apapa, Tincan Island, Onne, and PTML. Simultaneously, mobile scanners will be strategically deployed to expedite cargo inspections. The NRC pledged commitment to freight cargoes to Inland container depots/dry ports, aiming to alleviate congestion at major ports. Plans were unveiled for efficient container evacuation from Port Harcourt to Aba, with future extensions envisaged for Onne Port.

The collaborative approach demonstrated in the meeting underscores the Nigerian government’s commitment to cultivating a conducive and efficient trade environment. The anticipated implementation of these resolutions is expected to have a positive impact on port decongestion, trade facilitation, and overall operational efficiency and competitiveness.

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