The MD /CEO of the Federal Airports Authority Of Nigeria (FAAN) Capt Rabiu Yadudu has further pledged the resolve of FAAN to restructure the business of Aviacargo in Nigeria. He made this promise after an early morning tour of the cargo facilities at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport MMIA Lagos on Saturday the 29th of April 2023.
The tour of cargo facilities resulted from the presentation of the third interim report by the Aviacargo Road map committee. The committee coordinator Mr. Ikechi Uko, organizer of the CHINET Aviacargo Conference presented the 3rd monthly interim report for the month of April. In the presentation, the coordinator told the MD that the committee had done a tour of the cargo facilities at the international airport earlier in the month and were not impressed with the conditions of the facilities in the area and identified five areas that needed to be resolved by FAAN to improve the conditions in the area.
These included the export areas of both NAHCO and SAHCO that could be significantly improved based on the same organizations’ import areas. These export areas he described as disorganized, chaotic, unkempt, dirty, and rowdy. The import areas looked like a modern shopping malls while the Export Zones looked like “Aswani market or Oshodi” markets on a market day. The second is the improper and poor quality packaging of goods for export, also done inappropriately at the airport.
The third is the limited operating hours of the terminal which is better operating 24 hours to maintain the efficient flow based on the airport operating hours and the need for regulatory agencies to avail themselves and reduce congestion during the active hours of airport operations. He suggested that Customs and others can work around the clock so that domestic airlines can do regional cargo at night and carry passengers during the day.
The fourth pain point is the lack of facilities for exporters to package their goods having failed to do so at their facilities due to the need for inspections and certification. The fifth is the indiscriminate parking of vehicles all over the terminals and airports. These issues the committee found can be resolved immediately while the Aviacargo committee continues with the project. After receiving the 3rd Interim report Capt Yadudu decided to go and see the place for himself.
Accompanied during the tour by the FAAN MD were the Director of Commercial and Business Development Sadiku Rafindadi, the GM of Commercial Hyacinth Ngwu, the Chief of Staff, and staff from the Commercial Department. Mr. Uko showed them the already identified lapses and the earlier suggested possible mitigations. At the new Chinese-built cargo terminal, the MD promised that with a few final touches, the terminal will become an example for the new vision of Aviacargo in Nigeria.
He said the new cargo terminals in Port Harcourt and Abuja will also come on stream. He said with some minor amendments by the state government the Sam Mbakwe Cargo facility will also be integrated. While commending the Aviacargo committee, he pledged full and continuous support to the committee, saying “We are happy with the work you have done and done. The quality of membership is notable. We will at FAAN look at the suggestions and start to implement those that can be implemented immediately while we wait for your final report. We do not want an academic report. We all know the problems, and we expect a strategy and steps to implement the report when you finally submit the report. Please see your effort as a national project that helps not just aviation but the whole nation.”
FAAN he says will soon solve the 5 problems identified by the committee. There will soon be a Multilevel Car Park to sanitize the environment. He said once FAAN resolves some minor issues the cargo terminals will be open for 24 hours. About sanitizing the export and processing sections of the cargo terminals he promised that FAAN will soon announce a policy for improved packaging and processing of exports so that the export area will also look as clean and organized even better than the import area.
The tour took the team to all the projects by FAAN around the cargo terminals. The Aviacargo Road Map committee was instituted by FAAN to produce a guideline for the operation of the Aviacargo business in Nigeria. The aim is to make Nigeria the number-one hub for Aviacargo in Africa. Currently, Nigeria is number 5 in Africa far behind Kenya.