Port Users’ Choice Assessment in a Competitive Region, Using Apapa Ports Complex and Cotonou Port Complex as a Study
Keywords:Cargo diversion, Patronage, Quality service variables, Concessionaries, Port choice.
The paper appraised factors responsible for port users’ choice in a competitive environment such as an economic region like West Africa. Using Lagos Ports Complex with Apapa Port as a representative and Cotonou Port in Benin Republic, the study exposes in details the challenges and inefficiencies inherent in Apapa Ports Complex in Nigeria that make Nigerian shippers move their cargoes through Cotonou Port to Lagos market. Cargo diversion to neighbouring ports had always been a language in use in Nigerian shipping sector. The study was carried out to find out how significant this phenomenon is. Consequently, the study in an attempt to model port performance improvement in Nigeria through ensuring that quality services for the retainment of customers or capturing of more customers is maintained by port service providers in Nigeria. Using twelve (12) quality service variables such as Tangibility, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy, etc the results revealed that Nigerian shippers prefer Cotonou Port to Apapa Port closer to them as a result of seven quality variables out of twelve quality service variables used. Out of the twelve quality service variables Nigerian Port of Apapa was favoured in only five. This research revealed that though Apapa Port in Nigeria had been concessioned, the Nigerian Port regulatory body had failed in her duty to monitor and control the daily operation of the port. Increase port charges without knowing that it boomerangs, as shippers abandon their patronage for Nigerian Ports in preference for neighbouring port of Contonou.