For Nigeria to actualise the desired air cargo industry, there is need for standardisation of the various elements of the cargo business, ground handlers said on Thursday.
Speaking at a 2-day event on Aviation Cargo Conference organised by Ikechi Uko Publisher , ATQNews Magazine, Managing director, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, (NAHCO), Mrs. Adetokunbo Fagbemi, said to stop planes from flying empty from Nigeria, all hands must be on deck to address the fundamental issues.
Speaking on the ‘Role of a Handling Company in Cargo Business’, she also renewed the call for duty waivers on ground support equipment, while lamenting that the ground handlers were the least paid by the airlines.
” Despite our critical role in the air cargo ecosystem, ground handling companies are not being accorded their dues, we are underpaid by airlines and get blamed for any challenge within our warehouses whether it is due to airlines or government agencies.
“We look to government for support with our persistent calls for duty waivers just as it applies to airlines, this is yet to be acceded to. I wish to draw attention to the need for standardisation of the various elements of the air cargo business, as this will enable the actualisation of the desired air cargo industry in Nigeria. I pray that government and stakeholders would work together to create a better operating environment and an effective framework to support cargo export so that planes would stop flying from Nigeria empty”, she said.
Also speaking, Mr. Basil Agboarumi, managing director, Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), who delivered a paper on ‘The process and challenges of warehousing goods for export’, said export awareness has been on the increase, ‘but ground handling companies have limited space for expansion of their warehouses due to the nature of the environment they operate from, it will be a good thing for the authorities to provide space and land for the expansion of warehouses, export, especially, agro and manufactured products is the new oil, hence it should be supported’.
He also spoke of the challenges of epileptic supply of electricity and high operational cost of ground handling operations.
While itemising the benefits of export to an economy, he said if the business is supported and encouraged by government and various agencies, it will in turn encourage farming, strengthen the currency, create employment opportunities and foster relationships among countries.
Mr. Seyi Adewale, Chief Executive Officer, Mainstream Aviation, who spoke on the topic, ‘growing the air cargo value chain in Nigeria’, said a more veritable way of growing the cargo chain is to have more processing zones in the country, this he said, is slightly different from the Free Trade Zones.
He also lamented the fact that Nigeria cannot boast of a good packaging company, adding that product packaging is a vital aspect of export.
Representative of Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Anthony Ikechukwu, called on Cargo operators to carry out research, especially from countries that are successful in cargo business.
He also emphasised the need for a common clearing house and state-of-the-art technology in cargo business.