West and Central African shipping stakeholders have called for the adoption of the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index, LSCI, by various countries to avoid multiple port calls in the region.
Experts who attended a sub-regional Workshop on Transport Costs and Connectivity in Abuja, recently, also implored African shipping authorities to adopt fewer direct services to multiple ports in order to develop a hub-spoke for the West and Central African countries.
They said that countries should revisit the various programmes on transport connectivity and trade facilitation, such as the Sealgrid System, Lakaji Corridor, Sealink Project in their efforts to achieve connectivity.
The event which was organised by the Union of African Shippers’ Council (UASC), with of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF), was hosted by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport.
Speaking in a welcome address, the executive secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, said that the challenge of poor transport connectivity had been identified as a major obstacle to the sub-Saharan Africa countries realizing their potential in both regional and global trade.
He noted that with the advent of global supply chains, a new premium was being placed on the ability to move goods from one country to another rapidly and cheaply.
“Being able to connect to what has been referred to as the ‘physical internet’ is fast being a key determinant of a country’s competitiveness. As observed by experts, for those able to connect, the physical internet brings access to vast new markets. But for those whose links to the global logistics web are weak, the costs of exclusion are large and growing. Whether a cause or consequence, no country has grown successfully without a large expansion of its trade,” Bello said.