… operators speak on solution to challenges beleaguering cargo export
Posted by Sade Williams
As part of its scope of work, the AviaCargo Roadmap committee, at the weekend, inspected export warehouses belonging to the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc and the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, to get first hand information about the facilities, procedures of export and challenges beaueaguring the business in Nigeria and profer solution.
The committee was inaugurated by the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, after the the first edition of AviaCargo conference, also known as CHINET which held in Lagos two years ago.
The conference, which was convened by publisher of ATQ Magazine, Mr. Ikechi Uko, had issued recommendations on how to improve cargo export business in Nigeria. The recommendations gave rise to the committee.
The Committee had on Friday 31st March, presented an interim report to Captain Yadudu and briefed on the progress made so far.
He approved the last phase of the project which is the inspection of the cargo processes at the cargo export warehouses.
Chairman of the committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko, noted that part of why the committee embarked on tour of export facilities was to find out why it is very difficult for Nigeria to improve the processes of aviacargo, why it imports a lot and not able to export a lot.
He noted that the whole project of trying to create a template for aviacargo is to create more business for SAHCO, NAHCO and the industry.
According to him, with the huge population, Nigeria is doing poorly and the whole concept is to improve the processes and also to grow the volume.
“To do all of that we needed to understand what are the challenges and what is the mitigation to these challenges. And we thank FAAN for being able to sustain this. Since December, some of us have been meeting twice a week to make sure that we collate all the information and present to the country. It is a national project and we are happy that both SAHCO and NAHCO both sits on the committee and they made great contributions. We hope that by the end of this project, in the next three years, Nigeria will be number one in aviacargo.”, he said.
Speaking during the tour, group managing director of NAHCO, Mr. Indranil Gupta, spoke of the need for Nigeria to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) policy and the need to create enabling environment to harness the potential of cargo export.
He is of the opinion that Nigeria should break free from dependence on oil product export only by looking towards other products and exposing manufacturers and farmers to other opportunities in the business.
“So, all the policies which exist, either ECOWAS, AfCFTA, these policy frame works which are already available, we should be able to take advantage of it. So, in terms of those policies, they are available. What Nigeria’should look at is micro policies, what can enable or what can incentivize the industry to fill up those gaps.
“What we need to put together now are some of the key things that have major impact on export. And two things I can think of are: the functioning of customs 24/7. I know it is a big thing to look at because it is a nationwide impact but it is a policy. So that is something which can help a lot especially when we are trying to push perishables. Perishables means that they have shorter shelf life. And any amount of shelf life that can be saved by way of reducing time in processing, it will be a big help. The second is, uptake of technology. We have seen in the finance world, how technology has helped Nigeria bridge the problems that we have had in the past. I think technology can be a big up spin in this. As an industry, we need to look at how we can embrace technology and help ourselves.”, he said.
Also speaking, managing director of SAHCO, Mr. Basil Agboarumi, said the most of the things that the world is looking for are here, adding the world needs what we have.
He said: “there is need to change the narrative whereby aircraft will come into Nigeria and go back empty. And the only way we can do that is to be sure that we get the cargo that the airlines need. There is no doubt there is money is this sector but our attention has been wrongly directed. Where the money is actually is, is in aviation. Cargo all over the world is thriving. There are many great nations of the world today that cannot compare to what we have as a country. And if you have been opportune to travel by road in Nigeria, you will understand that Nigeria is also blessed. You have land in Nigeria that will go for Agriculture. Most of the things that the world is looking for are here.”, he said.