By Steve Agbota
The Federal Government has decried the high cost of doing business at the nation’s seaports, even as it vowed to reverse the trend by making the ports conducive for business.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, at inspection visit to the facilities in Apapa, Lagos reiterated that government would address the challenges hindering port operations.
Speaking during an interactive meeting with maritime stakeholders including terminal operators, shipping companies, freight forwarders and others in Lagos on Wednesday, Saraki said she would put processes in place to ensure that shipping companies promptly refund container deposits paid by importers and agents in the nation’s ports.
However, she said she would work with other stakeholders to reduce cargo dwell time at the seaports, assuring the stakeholders of sustained communication and engagement of stakeholders to make the ports more productive.
“The maritime industry is a major engine room in our national economy and as such, we must ensure that infrastructure is adequate and that there is synergy across the industry while providing access to all our stakeholders.
“And communication is the first step to solving any business problem. So, we are here to talk with our stakeholders. This town hall meeting will hopefully bridge any communication gap and drive the sector to a greater height.
“The enterprise architecture we plan on implementing will ensure that the communication is dynamic and not stagnant and integrated into the ministry’s plan. At the Federal Ministry of Transportation, we value all our stakeholders as partners in governance and business,” she explained.
Responding, the stakeholders commended the Minister for convening the meeting and assured her of full cooperation to reposition the maritime industry for greater productivity.