INEC boss lauds development of mega container ports

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Lagos -The National Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Hajia Amina Zakari, has said that rising global cargo freight is giving room for development of mega container ports across the globe.

Zakari stated this in a paper entitled “Logistics and Its Challenges in the 21st Century’’, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

She spoke on the sideline of the Women In Logistics and Transport (WILAT) Conference 2016, held in Lagos.

According to her, ocean shipping is vividly known to handle over 70 per cent of global cargo freight.

“This leads to the growing capacity and size of ships, the expansion of Panama Canal and the development of mega container ports across the globe.

“The ownership and operations of global shipping has also been expanding toward creating mega players that tend to control greater percentage of international cargo freight,’’ she said.

Zakari said that this development would tend to shift patronage away from older ports and lead to redundancy in many traditional logistics centres.

She expected to see continuing efforts by shippers, carriers and service providers to store, handle and transport goods in environmental
responsible ways.

Zakari noted some of the factors which made Africa’s transport costs and other challenges extremely severe by global standards.

She mentioned border posts plagued with corruption as well as inefficiencies; high parking fees; inadequate facilities and space to park
vehicles.

Zakari said there was lack of proper integration and insufficient training of personnel on logistics management and operations.

The national electoral commissioner explained that the volatility of energy prices (fuel) locally and internationally, had been a major challenge in logistics management in the 21st century.

She added, “The volatility of energy prices led to higher transportation costs that translate into increases in cost of logistics.’’

The national electoral commissioner said that the high fuel costs and further regulation of engine emissions and carbon footprints as well as possible driver shortages in advanced countries of the world, would result in higher truck rates.

“With active globalisation on course, the ripple effects of this is felt in virtually every other country through rising logistics costs emanating from the global supply chain and logistics network.

“Despite rising hire rates, the threat of human capacity and skills shortages remains.

“This challenge is posing negative impact on logistics service delivery,’’ NAN quotes Zakari as saying.

She explained that transport and logistics infrastructure continued to deteriorate, particularly in least-advanced countries, where there is conflict between jobs creation, public spending and other issues that are all tangled up with infrastructure deficit.

According to her, another fundamental challenge facing logistics companies and operations is the poor condition of roads due to inadequate maintenance and overloading.

“Over 60 per cent of the challenges on African roads conditions is caused by over-loading of vehicles.

“Another challenge is inadequate budget and lack of sufficient funding for infrastructural development,’’ Zakari said.

She said that many shippers and carriers wanted an initiative that would increase truck weight limits for vehicles equipped with six axles to enable the vehicles handle additional weight.

Zakari said that, “Efforts to tighten security in the supply chain will continue but the idea of guaranteeing that every package and every container is safe remains a challenge.’’

She urged government, carriers and security operatives in seaports, airports, terminals and along logistics routes, to find remedies every time security threats arose.

The national electoral commissioner advised WILAT and other organisations to always be abreast with information on changes in international Rules, Conventions and agreements with regards to logistics operation. (NAN)

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