Truckers in Nigeria’s transport sector have expressed worry over looming rise in unemployment in the country.
They also decried 50 per cent drop in cargoes coming into the country, further sparking fears of unemployment in the sector.
The group also lamented a 60 per cent reduction in haulage fares, leading to job insecurity in the sector.
Disclosing this during an interview, the Chairman, dry cargo section, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Abdullahi Inuwa, said the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were still affecting the sector till date.
Inuwa, who blamed lack of empty containers in Europe for shipment of cargos and high exchange rate as reasons for the drop in cargoes, said “activities in the Ports are low, and there is drop in importation.
.”The global challenge of Covid-19 has affected everything globally. You can even understand now that even in Europe, there is scarcity of empty containers to carry cargoes. Apart from that, you know that high cost of exchange rate has also affected importation, he said.
He also blamed government policies made through their agencies, such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), as part of what is affecting importation.
The NARTO boss said apart from the Federal Government, the next biggest employer of labour is the transport sector, noting that a lot of people would be out of job due to drop in cargoes.
“On the transport sector, transportation is a very big chain of movement because next to the Federal Government in terms of employment is the transportation sector.
“When you say there is drop in importation and there is no cargo, at least the importation has dropped by more than 50 per cent for cargoes.
“So, as you know, it has thrown a whole lot of people out of job because it is when there are cargoes that there will be jobs.
“I cannot quantify how much we are losing, but what I know is that a single truck feeds about 20 people, aside the owner.
“So, when there are no cargoes, you can imagine the number of persons that will not be able to feed”, he said.
Inuwa explained further that “when they tell you that there is over 50 per cent drop in cargo, you know that it will affect a whole lot of people. One thing you are supposed to understand is that Lagos State is a centre where all the activities happen.
“I do not have the statistics of how many trucks that are out of work now, but from our own assumption, it is difficult for agents to get trucks to carry their cargoes.
“Now, more than 50 trucks rush for just one terminal delivery order brought by an agent. This has crashed the fares of trucks from N350, 000 to N400, 000 it used to be before now to N180, 000 that it is now,” he said.
10 Ships With PMS, LNG, Others Arrive Eastern Ports, Today …Lagos Port Hosts Five Ships With Frozen Fish
The Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA ) says a total of ten ships laden with different cargoes will arrive three Eastern Ports, today.
The Ports are Onne, Calabar and Warri Ports, all located in South-South of Nigeria.
Vessels for Warri Port are Elizabeth A Spirit, Ozuchukwu, Akor, MT Picton and ST Walga, while those due for Calabar and Onne Ports are African Marvel, Asian Pride and Maersk Cubango.
Others are LNG Rivers and LNG Enugu for Onne port respectively.
This was contained in the Authority’s weekly Shipping Position, copy of which was made available to newsmen.
Names of the shipping agents for Warri Port are Amco, Admiral, Pinapat, Blue seas and Kach, while that of Calabar is Allray Maritime Services.
Onne Port has Samcham, Maserk Nig Limited, West Atlantic Port services Nig Limited, and Comet Shipping Services as agents.
The statement added that the ten ships are laden with Premium Motor Spirits (PMS), Crude oil, LNG, Bulk Fertilizer, Containers, Inballast, and Float Glasses.
In the same vein, Lagos Ports will receive five ships laden with Frozen Fish, while sixteen ships would discharge their bulk cargoes.
NPA said out of 21 ships expected to arrive at the ports,16 are bulk cargoes, while five are carrying Frozen Fish.
Other cargoes in the 16 ships include general cargo, bulk sugar, container, butane gas, petrol, bulk gypsum, jet fuel and automobile gasoline.
The NPA said the ships were expected to arrive at the ports from May 14 to May 26,2022.
It stated further that 12 other ships had arrived at the ports and waiting to berth with bulk sugar, bulk salt, bulk wheat, bulk fertiliser, petrol and base oil, adding that 19 other ships were at the ports discharging bulk cargoes.
The bulk cargoes include, wheat, general cargo, frozen fish, bulk salt, ethanol, bulk sugar, container and petrol.
FG Urges IMO To Retrain Port State Control Officers
Worried by lack of training and retraining of personnel in Ports State Control in Nigeria’s maritime industry, the Federal Government has charged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to remain committed to the training and retraining of Ports State Control Officers.
This, the government said, is in a bid to aid effective and efficient examination of substandard ships in West and Central Africa.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, stated this in Lagos during the regional workshop for Heads of maritime administrations in West and Central Africa.
She enjoined Port State Control Officers in the region to acquaint themselves with new trends, innovations, inventions, and topical issues in their field.
“One of the yardsticks for measuring an effective MoU is its ability to ensure a harmonised system of Port State Control, strengthen cooperation, as well as information exchange amongst members with the ultimate aim of preventing the operation of substandard ships within the MoU region.
“This workshop/training, which will keep participants abreast of current events, innovations, inventions, and topical issues in the industry, couldn’t have come at a better time than now when the Abuja MoU is striving to become the enviable MoU in terms of quality of service and performance amongst the nine regional MoUs. I commend the Secretary-General and secretariat of the Abuja MoU.
“The essence of port state control is to inspect foreign ships in national ports to verify the condition of the ship and its equipment and ascertain that she is manned/operated in compliance with the requirements of international conventions/regulations to ensure maritime safety and security and prevent pollution of the marine environment.
“To this end, regular training and retraining of port state control officers are key in ensuring that they display a high level of professionalism and skill in the conduct of inspections on board ships calling at their ports.
“I, therefore, wish to urge the heads of maritime administrations here present to ensure that similar training(s) as this is replicated for Port State Control Officers in your respective administrations.
“It should be noted that the Abuja MoU is not tied to one Member State alone. All Member States here present are critical stakeholders of the MoU.
“Therefore, we must all join forces and strive to ensure that we constantly uphold the ideals and objectives upon which the MoU was established. For this reason,
“I urge all member states to play their part in contributing to the growth of the Abuja MoU, so that we can constantly meet expectations and safeguard our marine domains.
“I wish to encourage every member state that has not ratified and domesticated the Abuja MoU relevant instruments, which include the IMO and ILO conventions/codes for PSC to do so promptly, so that we can move with the tide of the IMO,” Ajani noted.
Boat Misharp: NIWA Tasks Drivers, Passengers On Safety Rules
Following the incessant accidents in the nation’s waterways across the country, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has called on boat drivers and passengers to always adhere to safety rules and guidelines regulating water transportation.
The Authority also appealed to water users to always use their life jackets, desist from sailing at night, and overloading of passengers.
NIWA said the use of standard boats and not overloading, as well as not over speeding the boats are key guidelines for safe passenger transportation
General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, Mr Jibril Dardau, who stated this in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos, appealed to passengers and boat drivers to “obey the rules and guidelines regulating passenger transportation”.
The Authority, he said “ recently distributed life jackets and some patrol vessels to all its area offices across the country to enhance surveillance and monitoring of activities on the waterways”.
He expressed displeasure over the recurring boat accidents across Nigeria in spite of the efforts put in place by the agency.
“The authority noted with sadness the unfortunate boat accident that occurred on May 4 at about 11:00 p.m. in Mai-Adua Local Government Area of Katsina State in which 15 persons lost their lives.
“We are greatly pained that this mishap occurred, despite all the measures the Authority has put in place to forestall such mishaps.
NIWA insisted that we will not relent in our efforts to curb these occurrences within our inland waterways,” he said.
By: Stories by Chinedu Wosu
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