Ailing Ijora container terminal concessioned to Lilypond Container Depot Nigeria Limited (LCDNL) in 2006 by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is to be designated as export terminal, New Telegraph learnt. It was gathered that 2.3 million tons of non-oil would be shipped through the terminal yearly.
The terminal has been facing low cargo traffic for the past four years as cargo from the mother port, Lagos Port Complex, were no longer patronising the terminal. But government has decided to turn the port complex to an export terminal in order to make it viable.
Findings revealed that 90 per cent of the 7,000-Twenty Equivalent Units (TEU) space capacity has been redundant since 2013 due to the on-going economic recession in the country. It was also revealed that the terminal has been facing low business activities and unprofitability in the last three years.
Already, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has endorsed the terminal to provide a one-stop shop for export processing and logistics services for shippers.
The Chief Executive Officer of the council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, explained in Lagos that the facility would provide a conducive environment for service providers on shipping, warehousing, joint inspection by customs and other regulatory and certification agencies for easy and accelerated clearance of goods for export to the international market.
He said: “The outcome of this project is aimed at enabling exporters get their goods and services across to the export market within the time frame required without compromising the quality of their products, which would have been certified to conform with international best practices.
This would also ensure easy compliance with the present efforts of government to complete all export transactions within 48 hours. “This platform will also provide the platform for employment generation and create opportunity to earn foreign earnings through the repatriation of export proceeds.
Let me assure all stakeholders that NEPC will continue to support such interventions in the non-oil export.”
It would be recalled that the moribund terminal was concessioned to Lilypond Container Depot Nigeria Limited (LCDNL) in 2006, but the concessionaire said after investing N3 billion to upgrade the terminal in the areas of safety, capacity building, equipment, Information Communication Technology (ICT), it failed to yield good returns due to low capacity utilisation. Trouble started in 2013 when LCDNL considered the option of winding up its operation after losing over N500million due to inactivity caused by low container volume.
However, in 2014, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other stakeholders intervened to ensure that the company did not fold up.
But currently, the Lagos Port, which has been feeding the terminal with containers, is also experiencing low volume of imports as capacity utilisation dropped by 62 per cent.