Nigeria is inching towards becoming a centre for international trade and a major cargo hub in Africa with the warehouse facilities being developed by Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.This effort by SAHCOL to be the leading warehousing and ground handling operator in West African sub region is now receiving a boost, with the Airfreight Stakeholders forum of the Nigerian Shippers Council paying a facility tour on the ground handling company recently.
The forum led by its Chairman, Toyin Olufade was received by the managing director and chief executive officer of SAHCOL, Dr. Oluropo Owolabi.
The forum is made up of 18 stakeholders among which are: Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom Agents, (ANLCA), Nigerian Customs Services, (NCS), Airline Operators, and National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The team went round the newly constructed ultra modern warehouse of the company located at the Cargo Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Speaking on the forumís visit, Olufade said the team was at SAHCOL to have a firsthand assessment of facilities on ground and to see how they could be explored to promote international trade in the country.
He equally said the visit would avail them the opportunity to market SAHCOL facilities to both importers and exporters within and outside the country.
Other members of the forum who spoke on their experiences during the tour expressed delights at the level of investment and facilities put in place by SAHCOL.
A team member praised the companyís ability to ensure uninterrupted power supply for its facilities, adding that she was impressed when she was told that the company relies on three 500 KVA generators to power the equipment and facilities, despite the recent improvement the nation is witnessing in power supply nationwide.
Some of the facilities toured included the Bulk-break area, Cold room sector, Freezers, Radioactive room; Human remain sector, Dangerous goods section, Valuable section, Custom examination section, Loading Bay and Unit Loading Device (ULD) storage.
Responding to the councilís statement, Dr. Owolabi who commended the team for its initiative to have firsthand information on SAHCOLís facilities said the visit afforded them opportunity to have adequate information on how to sell the company while promoting external trade for Nigeria.
He called on Nigerians to invest in the packaging sector of the economy, adding that by doing this it would create a balance of trade between Nigeria and countries with which she has bilateral relations, since most airlines bringing imports to the country are usually ferried back empty.
We need to package our products here for international trade. It is very unfortunate to see big cargo aircraft flying into Nigeria only to drop cargo without flying anything out of the country.
We don’t necessarily need to depend on exports to European or American countries, but we could do it among countries in the West African region or the African continent. We have millions of tones of yam tubers, mangoes, pineapples, cashew nuts and other agro products that could be well packaged for exports to all these countries, instead of allowing them to rot away hereî, Owolabi stated. Extracted from www.ngrguardiannews.com