By Deborah Coker
The Federal Government says it has identified the Atlantique Marine Engineering Services, Edo Inland Container Dry Port (AMES-Edo Inland Container Dry Port) as a potential Domestic Export Warehouse (DEW).
Mr Segun Awolowo, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), disclosed this on Thursday after inspecting the AMES-Edo Inland Container Dry Port facility at Agbonmoba community near Benin.
Represented by Mr Afolabi Bello, an Assistant Director in the council, Awolowo said that the Federal Government Agencies concerned with Agro export and other exports were at the facility to do some inspection and verify the potentialities that exists in the dry port.
“It might not be 100 per cent ready, but if the gaps that requires intervention are not enough to stop it as DEW, then it will become qualified.
“Because of the strategic position and location of AMES-Edo to the South South and South East, we will also be looking at how we can intervene in filling any gap identified.
“We believe that with commitment from the operators and other partners in filling any gap identified, AMES-Edo Inland Container Dry Port can qualify for DEW within the second quarter,” he said.
He also explained that DEW was birthed to address and mitigate the constraints and challenges, especially in the area of logistics experienced by Nigerian exporters.
He also said it was to remove the constraints hindering quick delivery of export produce to buyers outside the country.
Earlier, Dr Charles Akhigbe, MD/CEO AMES-Edo, promoters of the Inland Container Dry Port, said that the facility was positioned as both a cluster-based centre, as well as geographical location-based centre.
Akhigbe disclosed that there were 478 catchment local government areas across 23 states for the facility.
He noted that the state was already connected to the trans Sahelian and the ECOWAS trade route, adding every economic index favoured the facility.
He disclosed that the Inland Container Dry Port implementation committee had started work, noting that it showed that the project was one step away from the Federal Executive Council approval.
Akhigbe further said that the desired model for the dry port was the Public, Private, Associate Partnership (PPAP).
He added that the process in the port would be technology driven.
Meanwhile, Mr Kelvin Uwaibi, Head Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), who represented the state government said that the government was anxious to see the dry port commence operations.
He noted that the country could not remain input dependent especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the state was an agrarian state with lots of produce for export, noting also that the state was lucky as its produce were been sort after globally.
“We must get export right; we must begin to think of the future of our kids. We need to start export formally using guided rules, just as we need a rethink to make things work.
“We will use AMES-Edo as a pilot to make export work. Export is a business that must be sustained,” he said.
Mr Goke Badmus, Head Export Seat, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Edo/Delta gave assurance that the NCS would ensure that the port comes into functioning.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other Federal Government Agencies present at the inspection include the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, Standard Organisation of Nigeria and the Nigerian Shippers Council.