Barely one month after the Federal Government entered into agreement with two private firms to rehabilitate the Creek Road, Apapa, maritime sector practitioners have announced loss of business estimated at $300 million.
This is computed from the increase in demurrage, delays on port delivery charges and general loss of contract delivery, among other sundry costs.
At normal time, importers said they pay less than $90 million, a third of the new costs, per month, before taking delivery of their goods and usually within two weeks of berthing of the ships at the Nigerian ports.
But coming on the heels of the closure of the main outlets to the various ports in Apapa area, leading to delaying of ships from discharging their goods and accumulating demurrage and other charges, activities within the Apapa business community have been grounded.
Officials of Nigerian Martine Authority (NMA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) were said to have on Monday been locked up in a series of meetings, involving all the concessionaires of key sectors of the ports with the aim of finding a way of easing off the logjam on vehicular movements, and to allow loaded trailers leave the ports while the empty ones should gain access to the loading sheds.
To most of the importers, the various agencies, especially, the concessionaires are exhibiting some high- handedness on the issue.
But a spokesperson of Mearsk, Mrs. Rebecca Clerks, said there were not enough consultations made with all stakeholders in the sector before the closure of the main entrance and exit roads leading to the loading sheds.
“Most of the importers and clearing agents are venting their frustration on the operators, but the truth is that there is little or nothing we can do until those managing the road repairs come up with solution,” she stated.
The President of Nigerian Customs Licensed Clearing Agencies (NCLCA), Mr. Ibe Anyakachi, confirming the frustration that has been associated with the delay in doing business in Nigerian ports, said the past one month had been hectic.
The president said: “More than 1,000 ships are berthing at diffident points in the wharf, while some are still at the high sea.
“This means that several goods already cleared by the Customs and other agencies, but cannot be evacuated due to no access to the point of disembarkation, will soon be muddled up with new ones.
“Our clients are not finding it easy either, especially when we give them dumerage bills running three times of what the shippers could have charged on normal times. They tend to doubt us.
“The appeal on relevant agencies, including, Mearsk and AP Morgan, to reduce their work charges to accommodate the realities of the prevailing circumstances have fallen on deaf ears.
“For example, we have asked the NPA and NMA to appeal to both the shipping lines and the operators of the ports facilities to review the current three-day free demurrage charges to at least seven days, but nobody is listening to us.”
Of the most affected of the entrapped cargoes were the ones billed to be discharged from the Tin Can Terminal, Apapa Port Terminal 1, and the PML Terminals, most of which harbour food and vehicular cargoes.
An expert on maritime issue, Mr. Dele Falolu of Debarge Shipping Lines said the experience of the operators in the sector in the recent past had proved the policy of concentration of all ports activities in Lagos as unwise.
“With this sad experience of all, including the private and public sectors, policy makers may now reconsider opening up the Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri ports, if they want to tap fully the value of the sector in the Nigerian economic growth,” Falolu maintained.
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
Students suffer as contractors abandon Kano school projects after receiving over N70m
In 2019, to improve the condition of public schools in Kano State, the Federal Government disbursed millions of naira to...
SPECIAL REPORT: World Bank road projects go bad in Enugu, as state govt fails to fulfill promise
Counterpart funded road projects between the world Bank and Enugu State government have started to fail, as the state government...
INVESTIGATION: How N70m road construction created more hardship for Sokoto residents
“To address recurrent accidents on Gagi to Gidan Dilo road and Fakon Idi roads, in Sokoto State, the Federal Government,...
INVESTIGATION: Inside Kwara school where students are used as labour on teachers’ private farms
In this report, SHEREEFDEEN AHMAD uncovered how young students in Kwara State, Nigeria, are being used for labour work on...
INVESTIGATION: How Kano SUBEB awarded contracts to inactive contractors, non-existent schools
In an effort to address issues hindering quality education, the Kano State Government in 2020 awarded N88,406,667.10 for the construction...