Mr Hassan Bello, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council said in Abuja on Sunday that dry ports in the country would become functional soon.
According to Bello, dry ports, otherwise known as Inland Container Depots and Container Freight Stations were created to solve the perennial problem of port congestion.
The dry ports are located in Ibadan, Kano, Isiala-Ngwa (Abia), Jos, Funtua (Katsina State) and Maiduguri.
Bello said that the dry ports were created to also bring shipping services to the doorsteps of shippers and as consolidated points for exports.
He said that the dry ports were being driven by Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, adding that government had been facing the teething problem of appropriate legal framework for the dry ports project to take off.
He said that the dry ports would be more effective if arrangement was made for an effective rail service.
The acting executive secretary said that the Federal Ministry of Transport recently inaugurated a committee to examine the challenges facing the take-off of the dry ports.
He said that the dry ports would soon be declared as ports of destination and centres of exports.
Bello also mentioned the Cargo Defence Fund (CDF), which he said was supposed to be a kind of insurance arrangement for shippers as compensation.
“Shippers abandon claims because they do not have the wherewithal to pursue such claims,” he said.
“It is important that we create a special purpose vehicle for the CDF free from bureaucracy to handle shippers’ claims with speed and efficiency.’’
The acting executive secretary said that the CDF had made an impact by pursuing claims of Nigerian shippers in Spain, Germany and other European countries.
Bello recalled that recently a Briton was arrested in Cotonou because he was defrauding Nigerian shippers importing stockfish to the tune of millions of naira.
“What we want to do with the vehicle (CDF) is to see the engagement of Nigerian shippers in fair trade.’’