Executive Director Off Dock, SIFAX Group, Captain Ibraheem Olugbade,

The SIFAX Group has made a strong case for effective use of the existing off dock facilities and barge transport systems for container transfers as part of efforts to curtail the massive congestion rocking Nigeria’s seaports.

Executive Director of the Group in charge of Off Dock, Captain Ibraheem Olugbade, who made this call, urged all the stakeholders in the maritime industry to adopt the option of barge transportation for the movement of consignments from the Lagos seaports.

Olugbade said the challenges of congestion and traffic caused by poor state of the port access roads would drastically reduce if credible alternative to road transport such as barge operation is encouraged by shipping lines and agents.

He said: “Shipping lines and agents should be encouraged to key into the use of barges for transfer in view of the poor state of the port access roads. Aggressive transfer of cargoes through barges to the various off docks in Lagos will help decongest the port in a great way and help the port reach its maximum potential”.

He also urged the Nigerian Shippers Council and other relevant agencies to ensure that its policy of establishing Inland Container Depots ICDs in strategic parts of the country was pursued with more vigour, as this will provide a very important leeway for the decongestion of Nigeria’s seaports.

“The idea of floating Inland Container Depots or off docks in various parts of the country is a very good initiative by the government. Although it is yet to yield its desired result, there is need to pursue its implementation with more commitment by all stakeholders. Off docks are still very much relevant in Nigeria’s maritime business model. They will always help to decongest the ports and bring about efficiency in port operations”, he also said

Olugbade further noted that SIFAX Group’s belief in off dock as a good port-decongestion strategy is responsible for the company’s massive investment in its current off dock facilities and acquisition of new ones in various locations across Lagos. This, he said, would enable agents to experience easier clearing process and faster consignment movement.

On the indiscriminate siting of off docks in Lagos, Olugbade urged relevant government agencies to strictly enforce the policies that guide the off dock location in Lagos State, in order to avoid environmental hazards.