CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF NIGERIAN SEAPORTS AS POTENTIAL GROWTH-POLES: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF ACHIEVING TRANSSHIPMENT HUB STATUS
The paper reviewed the numerous challenges bedeviling the port sector in Nigeria, which have combined to hinder it from emerging as growth pole despite the country’s huge market of over 200 million, making her to handle over 65 per cent of maritime traffic in the West and Central African sub region. Poor management and inadequate regulatory framework have combined to rob the country’ ports of the opportunity to become preferred destinations thereby leading to revenue loss. This is despite having gone through series of reforms to facilitate efficiency for the ultimate benefit of customers and improvement in revenue generation. The Apapa gridlock, the issues leading to the idleness of Eastern ports, and the security challenges in the maritime space, are among the challenges affecting Nigeria’s potential as a transshipment hub. This paper summarizes the main challenges from literature review, media reports and port stakeholders. The paper found that recent measures like the Electronic Call-up system (Eto App), the Nigerian Port Process Manual and the Deep Blue Project are some recent policy initiatives that stakeholders hope would enhance the country’s bid to attain transshipment hub in the sub region. The paper submits that the Government should enforce the regulations guiding port operations and provide functional maritime and inland transport infrastructure.
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