Cargo diversion to West African countries becomes imminent as Lagos seaports on the verge of collapse
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There are indications that Nigeria may soon start experiencing more cargo diversions to neighbouring West African ports due to the collapse of both Tin Can and Apapa quay aprons.
A quay is part of the port where cargo is lifted or vessels are loaded and unloaded.
Experts say that shipping companies would now be scared to berth at the affected ports, resulting in the diversion of cargoes to West African ports or a possible increase in freight charges.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Muhammad Bello-Koko, had, over the weekend, raised the alarm that Tin Can Island port was collapsing, saying that more attention should be focused on rehabilitating the quay walls of the port.
A member of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Adewale Ishola, said that the present condition of the quay aprons portrayed danger for incoming vessels.
“The quay aprons portray danger to incoming ships. They expose ships coming into danger, so it means if you are not careful, people will say that our ports are not safe. If our quay aprons are not strong enough to take vessels, it means vessels will reject going to Tin Can port.
“Maybe they will now go to other ports and drop our cargoes, and Apapa port is not even safer because it is older. Apapa was becoming filled up as at then; Tin Can was now built to take some cargoes off Apapa. Tin Can was built out of necessity. That means if ships start to reject coming to these ports because of the collapsing quay aprons, there may be an additional premium for them to enter our ports because they know they are taking a risk to come there. So, the cost of delivering cargo might become higher if they have to bring their vessels to come and deliver cargoes at a collapsing quay side,” he said.
Also speaking, an oil and gas analyst, Zaka Bala, said that the collapsing of the quay aprons of the ports spelt doom for the Nigerian economy, noting that vessels would start moving away from Nigeria.
“This portends doom for the Nigerian economy. It portends doom for the Nigerian economy because a lot of vessels will start moving away from Nigeria. And that will make other countries that are on the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean to start developing their ports. Once they start developing their ports, all the big ships will start diverting to their ports and once that happens, most of the ships that are supposed to bring goods to Nigeria will start berthing in other countries.
”Before you know it, other countries will take over the position of Nigeria. And once that happens, it means even if we import goods, they will stop in other countries and we will be forced to go to other countries within Africa to bring in our goods. It will spell economic doom for Nigeria.”