The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, called terminal operators, shipping companies, port managers and stakeholders to eradicate or mitigate the effects of the current congestion at Nigeria’s seaports.
According to the Managing Director, ports congestion concerns all and they should look into the issue of evacuation of empty containers, increase in free days of storage, wavering of demurrage for a period of time, or create a window of some period to accommodate the concerns of importers.
Ms. Usman also noted that the government wants to get things done more smoothly. For this reason, NPA will do everything to facilitate trade in the maritime sector, adding that the Authority would encourage shipping companies to patronize other Ports outside Lagos, particularly Onne Port.
Moreover, she informed the Terminal Operators that among the efforts NPA has made include the use of Barges to move cargoes to Ikorodu, cooperating with other stakeholders to build access roads in Apapa, encouraged Dangote Private Jetty Project, promoting Intermodal Transportation System etc.
Regarding the concerns of some terminal operators that the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has not auctioned cargo at the Port recently, the Managing Director called the service to increase efforts at auctioning overtime cargo on time in order to discourage importers from turning the port into storage facility and that the owners of such cargo should be asked to remove them immediately.
Furthermore, the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Ms. Vicky Haastrup of the ENL Consortium, said that the measures being taken by the Federal Government will affect their revenue negatively, with several operators expressing similar concerns.
However, the Managing Director assured them that what is at stake now, is an emergency situation and that they are subject to review after some time.