Dr. Oluropo Owolabi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL), has called on Nigerians to invest in the packaging sector of the nation’s economy.
Owolabi made the call recently when the Airfreight Stakeholders forum of the Nigerian Shippers Council paid a facility tour on the ground handling company
The forum, led by its Chairman Toyin Olufade, was received by the SAHCOL boss and commended the efforts of SAHCOL to have emerged the leading warehousing and ground handling operator in West African sub region.
Speaking on the forum’s visit, Olufade said the team was at SAHCOL to have a firsthand assessment of facilities on ground and to see how they could be explored to promote international trade in the country.
He also said the visit would avail them the opportunity to market SAHCOL facilities to both importers and exporters within and outside the country.
Other members of the forum who spoke on their experiences during the tour expressed delight at the level of investment and facilities put in place by SAHCOL.
A member of the visiting team who wanted to know the ability of the warehouse to ensuring uninterrupted power supply for its facilities, was impressed when she was told that the company relies on three 500 KVA generators to power the equipment and facilities, notwithstanding the recent improvement the nation is witnessing in power supply nationwide.
Some of the facilities toured included the Bulk-break area, Cold room sector, Freezers, Radioactive room; Human remain sector, Dangerous goods section, Valuable section, Custom examination section, Loading Bay and Unit Loading Device (ULD) storage.
Responding to the council’s statement, Owolabi, who commended the team for its initiative to have firsthand information on the SAHCOL facilities for them to have adequate information on how to sell the company while promoting external trade for Nigeria called on Nigerians to invest in the packaging sector of the economy.
He said doing this would create a balance of trade between Nigeria and countries with which she has bilateral relations, since most airlines bringing imports to the country are usually ferried back empty.
The SAHCOL boss said, “We need to package our products here for international trade. It is very unfortunate to see big cargo aircraft flying into Nigeria only to drop cargo without flying anything out of the country.
“We don’t necessarily need to depend on exports to European or American countries, but we could do it among countries in the West African region or the African continent. We have millions of tonnes of yam tubers, mangoes, pineapples, cashew nuts and other agro-products that could be well-packaged for exports to all these countries, instead of allowing them to rot away here.”
The forum is made up of about 18 stakeholders among which are: Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN),Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom Agent, (ANLCA),Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), Airline Operators, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), went round the newly constructed ultra-modern warehouse of the company located at the Cargo Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
By Patrick Aigbokhan