Aviacargo experts list challenges and proffer workable solutions to increasing the volume of cargo

…..eye 25% goods and 10% mails increase year on year for five years

Stakeholders in the Air cargo export business and government agencies are eyeing an increase in the volume of aviation cargo in the next five years.

They have projected an increase in exports data on goods and mails by a minimum of 25% and 10%, year on year for the next five years starting in 2023 and using the 2021 data as benchmark.

Determined to achieve this feat, the stakeholders converged on Lagos last week at the CHINET Aviation and Cargo Conference with the theme: ‘The Role of Insurance Regulation in Growing Aviation and Cargo Business in Nigeria’ to discuss challenges that may hamper this projections and proffer workable solutions to them.

Statistics by the Airport Council International, ACI on Air Cargo show that, about 2.15 million metric tons of cargo transited through African airports in 2021 with an 11.6% increase from 2020 data.

From this figure, Murtala Mohammed International Airport ranked fifth with 204,649 metric tons of cargo after Kenya, Egypt, South Africa and Ethiopia.

Players in this sector believe Nigeria can surpass this figures from year 2023 and beyond if there is the political will and cooperation from all stakeholders.

Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu says, the designation of 13 airports as cargo airport free trade zones is a step toward achieving this goal.

He emphasized that; all that is needed is collaboration.

“All stakeholders that work at our airport will still continue operating, those that have the privilege to benefit from the economic zone activities, they will apply”.

With the large quantity of solid minerals and agricultural produce Nigeria is blessed with, stakeholders say, achieving the projected numbers for the next five years is doable if the right processes and procedures are put in place and followed.

They listed some challenges that were yet to be addressed for many years in Aviacargo, to include among others multiplicity of taxes and charges, agencies, administrative bottlenecks, poor infrastructure, lack of adequate insurance cover and electricity supply.

‘There is infrastructural decay, nobody has knowledge of packaging, no education, no sensitization, government itself doesn’t have proper information of what comes in and goes out and it is affecting business minded entrepreneur”.

Most disturbing is the rejection of certain produce from Nigeria in foreign countries, they downgrade the quality and specie and tag them as untraceable, non-certified and unfit for consumption.

President, Association of Aircraft Owners of Nigeria, Mr. Alex Nwuba stressed the need for information to where produce can b sourced and the markets.

“Because there is been no real mechanism many economies is driven by the Ministries of commerce and information”.

Speakers at the Chinet Aviation and Cargo conference in Lagos

While Dr. Ubiogoro Eloho of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services said, farmers whose produce are for export must involve the services to educate them on the best practices from planting to harvest.

“So that we can be sure you are doing it according to internationally acceptable standards, because there are standards for everything”.

Participants called for a centralized process of operations in aviacargo, proper enlightenment of investors, complete automation of the clearance processes and improvement in the ease of doing business.

“The agencies must collaborate, when you say this is my own that would give rise to multiple charges and any country that does not take the interest of it MSME’s into account is doom for failure”.

Organizer of the conference, Mr. Ikechi Uko expressed optimism that the private sector and the government have the capacity to improve performance in agro export volume with collaboration and commitment of all stakeholders.

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