Air freighting is the fastest amongst the major means of transporting large quantities of goods, also helping make transportation cost-effective. But Daily Trust Saturday has observed a low level of freighting activities at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, a state which, ironically, is the commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria.
Some major businessmen spoken to attribute it to the current state of the economy, while others say it is as a result of the attitude of some of some Kano entrepreneurs towards air freighting.
There are two major companies responsible for the handling of freight services. The companies are Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Sky Way Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL).
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A respondent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Daily Trust Saturday that there are three days of real activity at the cargo handling companies. “When you come on Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, you’ll see people really busy here, because those are the main days when cargoes get loaded, and offloaded,” he said
Another respondent, who also pleaded for anonymity, told Daily Trust Saturday that the major observation he has made with regards to little or no activity at the handling companies, is the emergence of some dry ports around the Kano axis.
He said: “But it is not as if we are doing nothing; we are still operating. But one thing I can assure you is that this place is not as busy as it used to be in past years. And this, from our observation, is because of the emergence of dry ports, where some people have diverted their attention to.”
Other reasons, according to him, could be the effect of the overall economy of the country, as it affects all sectors.
But another respondent dispelled the issue of dry ports as a reason for having low level of activities of cargo handling at the airport. “We are still the way we were; nothing has changed. One thing I can tell you is that some Kano businessmen generally consider air freight to be expensive. But those who don’t share that notion are still patronizing us,” he added.
The respondent explained that what most businessmen fail to understand, is that the high cost of air transportation is compensated with fast delivery time. “For example, if you are to import anything for sale during the Sallah celebration, you can do it now through air freight and get results. But that is not possible through the sea. So, you see it is that time saved that is paid for,” he explained.
At the Sky Way Aviation Handling Company Limited, Daily Trust Saturday observed that most of their operation areas were locked, and there was no movement of people or goods. Officials declined to comment, saying they required instructions from their head office.
Similarly, at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, officials declined comment, also citing needed permission from their head office.
It was also observed that there is a need for the rehabilitation of structures, as most of the offices are not in good shape, especially for the kind of business transactions that take place in them, or are expected to. Whether vibrant air freighting will return to the airport again, remains to be seen.
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