Over 15000 abandoned cargoes congest Lagos terminals

This is not the best of times for terminal operators as thousands of containers and imported vehicles remained un-cleared from Lagos ports.

The Guardian gathered that over 9000 containers and 6000 imported vehicles are still trapped at the APMT and Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT), thereby congesting the port.

The abandoned cargoes have taken over the terminals, making stacking of new cargoes imported into the country difficult for terminal operators.

The National Coordinator, 100 Percent Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, (NAGAFF) Ibrahim Tanko, revealed that that there are so many overtime cargoes in the port and terminals deliberately not being moved to government warehouses, thereby taking up spaces in the ports with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) complaining of lack of space.

“Why are they not being moved? Why are these terminals holding onto these cargoes and complaining of lack of space, the overtime cargoes must be released to the government warehouse,” Tanko said.

The Federal Government had recently approved an increase in cargo handling charges at Nigerian seaports, a situation which may worsen the situation, as demurrage increases.

Tanko applauded the Nigerian Shippers’ Council for its intervention, which resulted in the reduction of charges from 600 percent increment down to 400 percent.

“From all indications, it was a remarkable achievement. Even though we didn’t get all we wanted, we got 200 percent reduction. Half bread is better than nothing; we got the 600 per cent increment reduced to 400 percent increment, 3-5 days waiver and the container must be there before the five days starts counting. We also were able to extract from them that the Debit Note is reversible and for those who paid before this reduction, they must be refunded.”

However, Tanko said that he has not confirmed if terminal operators under the aegis of Seaports Terminal Operators of Nigeria (STOAN) has started implementing the said reduction.

“If we notice that they are not implementing, we shall take our protest terminal by terminal to ensure that we get it done,” he said.

Also, Tanko noted that some Freight Forwarders did not agree to the reduction, as they feel it was not enough but he appealed to them to give peace a chance and thrust the leaders to protect their interests.

He added that the issue of demurrage is stifling businesses, saying: “That is why we appealed for a five-day window, let’s start from somewhere as negotiations progress. We did this in the best interest of all, everyone has the right to say what they want but someone has to push it through. It took us a lot to do this and I know how much effort we put in and no matter what, we deserve a pat on the back, thank you is not too much. They should understand with us,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a bid to encourage clearance of cargoes to decongest its terminal, the TICT Terminal has cut down the recently increased terminal charge increment.

The TICT disclosed this in a customer advisory on October 25, titled: “Notice of reduction in our storage tariff”

It stated: “This is to bring to your notice that TICT has applied a downward review of our recently updated storage tariff, effective from October 26, 2023.

“This reduction in tariff should be considered as an act of good faith and consideration of the plight of our customers in this current economic situation of the country.

“We encourage all our importers and their agents to commence immediate release of their cargo lying in our terminal before further storage costs accrue on the boxes,” it stated.

Source: guardian.ng(By Sulaimon Salau)

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