Aviation and cargo export experts have expressed concern over the constant number of empty cargo planes departing the country despite the huge agricultural production across Nigeria.
They say that despite the availability of cargo planes to transport agricultural produce to other parts of the world and trucks and equipment provided by logistics firms to transport goods locally, these products are still lost in various states because there are not enough markets. and information.
Speaking during the Chinet Aviacargo conference organized by Ikechi Uko on Wednesday, Obinna Anyaegbu, CEO, Chisco Logistics, said Nigerians are leaving the country in search of greener pastures, but the country has good soil and fertile land to plant and harvest agricultural produce that can be sell anywhere. around the world.
“The Chinese want to eat our bananas, plantains and pineapples. We have one of the most nutritious fruits in the world, but the supply and demand are not matching at the moment, which is why Chisco Express wants to close the gap.
“We’ve always made assets available to traders and that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 40 years. But the government and regulatory bodies must be involved. We’ve seen investment in aeronautics go badly, so if we have to do it in the aeronautical sector, we want to make sure we do it right with state-owned enterprises and traders who have contracts to supply to Europe and other parts of the world “, – Anyagbu. said.
He explained that there are cargo planes and passenger bellies leaving Nigeria empty, but there are also rotten fruits on the farm, which shows the huge gap that needs to be addressed.
He said that this is why Chisco Logistics is trying to consolidate and see how the company as a logistics solution can offer solutions in this regard.
“If you look at the country’s GDP, about 10 to 13 percent is in the logistics sector, because it’s about trade and manufacturing. We eat and drink every day and things need to move. We need to pay for the logistics. Nigeria’s logistics market is about $60 billion. If you say that our GDP is $500-600 billion, market-based, 10 percent of that would be about $60 billion,” he explained.
He recalled that two years ago, Chisco Logistics leased an aircraft for cargo export, but did not receive cargo to fill the aircraft.
“We hired a plane two years ago doing Lagos-Accra when our transport service was not working. Every day we travel from Lagos to Accra by buses and trucks. But when COVID-19 happened, we chartered a plane, but we had no goods to transport. It was a 14-ton 737 and we were struggling to get two tons in a week.
“We noticed that the biggest player on the route was DHL and they bring about 70-80 tonnes of cargo into Nigeria and move it around West Africa. So mainly imported goods move along African routes. Kenya exports a lot and they have a great supply contract. This is because they meet international standards,” said the CEO of Chisco Logistics.
Alex Nwuba, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Nigeria, said there are comparative advantages in where cargo airports are built, opening up opportunities for traders, farmers and airlines.
“Anambra has a strategy to produce agricultural products and vegetables for domestic and international markets. You can’t carry it on the road. The airport will be useful in achieving this goal. Anambra is a huge industrial and commercial economy and some of these things that are produced in and out of that economy will take advantage of this airport.
“Yoba has potential for tourism. Calabar has potential for tourism. The state government is building a new airport in Ogudu to bring you closer to this experience. We can use it. Airports are nothing more than real estate. There are opportunities. The logistics companies said they have trucks and the means to move goods, the aviation sector said they have planes,” Nwuba said.
However, he noted that a major problem is the information gap that exists in the industry, adding that the Ministry of Trade and Information should provide information on the things being produced, where the market for those things is and the service providers.
“We lack information about where things are and the market for these goods. We need this market intelligence so that service providers can take advantage of these opportunities,” Nwuba added.
Ganiyu Musa, Managing Director, Cornerstone Insurance PLC, who spoke on the topic: “The Role of Insurance in the Development of Aviation and Cargo Business in Nigeria”, said the balance sheets of all insurance companies in Nigeria combined are about one billion dollars.
Musa said regulations prevent insurance companies from disclosing more than five percent of their shareholders’ funds, and that affects the number of risks insurance companies can insure.
He said there are variables that affect pricing that are beyond the control of insurance companies.
Speaking earlier, Leonard Akah, director of policy and regulation at the National Insurance Commission, said there was a need for greater capital infusion to ensure greater local retention, increased cooperation between aviation and insurance agencies, licensing of more local reinsurers, strict enforcement of the local content on insurance in relation to offshore placement and involvement of Airlines of Nigeria, (AON).