Rivers; High Foreign exchange, Infrastructure decay- Freight Forwarders count losses
Port Harcourt, Oct. 16, 2022 – Reaction has continued to trail poor state of the Eleme/Onne section of the East-West road as Frieght Forwarders count losses over poor road condition amidst high foreign exchange rate.
Chief Executives of some indigenous freight forwarding firms in Rivers Mr Chinedu Ikenga, Managing Director, Prestige Associate, and Mr Kingsley Offor, CEO Kingsoo Global Maritime Ltd in separate interviews with newsmen in Port Harcourt say the situation is taking a nagative toll on importation business at the Eastern ports.
The businessmen urged federal government to as a matter of urgency address the situation which they said has lead to business down-turn especially in Rivers state.
According to Ikenga of Prestige Associate, more businesses in Rivers may be under threat if the federal government fails to rehabilitate the East-West road.
He noted that equipments, maintenance as well as overall running cost on importation had recorded more than 50 per cent rise in the past few months.
“Some importers who usually procure as much as 20 containers at a stretch are currently struggling to import 10 due to high exchange rate and then, those of us in this part of the country sometime end up loosing our goods on Eleme-Onne road while moving them to the warehouses.
The situation is so bad and calls for speedy response, right now, a container heading for Aba from Onne port, cannot make a straight journey without navigating through Owerri and spending as much as five hours on a journey that ordinarily would have lasted an hour,” he said.
Ikenga also urged federal government to ensure a reviewed escort permit for Customs officers to assist achieve fast dispatch of consignments from the port terminals.
“Moving containers from ports to the warehouse is currently becoming very challenging, before now, a Customs officer could escort about 20 containers or more but right now an officer is officially assigned to check-in only to 5 containers.
“The policy had subjected our consignments to delays at the ports following shortage of officers in some coverage areas,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Kingsley Offor, CEO, Kingsoo Global Maritime Ltd also urged federal government to step up actions at tackling infrastructure deficit across the six geo-political regions.
Offor noted that equitable distribution of infrastructure across Nigerian Ports will go a long way to strengthening regional Economy thereby, opening up more business hubs in the country.
He also expressed worry over poor electricity, infrastructure decay, insecurity amongst other issues yearning for federal government’s attention in the south-eastern part of the country.
The business executive said that continued neglect by the federal government is beginning to threaten business outlook in the region.
Reported by Lizzy Ikkiru