Crisis brews at Port as accusations, denials trail destination inspection

17 June 2013, Lagos – As the management of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, set to takeover cargo scanning functions from the three contracted service providers – Contecna, SGS and Globalscan – there are strong indications that the scheme may have run into troubled waters as A. P. Moller has declined responsibility for moving containers to scanning site.

But, the spokesman for Cotecna, Mr. Aminu Mohammed confirmed the fact that there was an agreement between A.P. Moller, the three service providers, importers with Customs as witnesses for AP Moller to move containers to scanning sites.

He said that it was unfair for A. P. Moller to say that it was not its responsibility to move containers to scanning site.

The Scanning Manager at A. P Moller, Mr. Ernest Walker also reiterated the tripartite agreement saying that A.P. Moller is overwhelmed by the level of request of containers for scanning. “A. P. Moller is finding it difficult to handle the situation that is why they are calling for a review of the number of containers to be positioned for scanning.”

The management of A. P. Moller terminal had written to the Apapa Customs Command intimating them of the serious issue the terminal is having with the current level of containers and its inability to continue to position 600 containers for scanning every day.

The letter said in part; “APMT Apapa has serious issues with the current level of containers requiring to be scanned. The number has seriously risen hugely over the pat few months to unsustainable levels. There is an urgent need for the Nigeria Customs to review the level of this request and reduce them to sustainable levels. APMT requests that Nigeria Customs Service reduce the level of scanning bookings to the agreed 200 per day. This will enable us to continue our co-operation with Customs and to fully continue our main function of discharging and loading container vessels.”

The terminal operator called for an urgent review of the number of requests for container meant for scanning. In the letter signed by the Commercial Manager of A. P. Moller terminal, Mr. Neil Flecher, it was said that reducing the number of containers will enable the terminal to continue to cooperate with Customs.

This development, if not nipped in the bud may snowball into another round of port congestion which could have dire consequence on the nation’s economy.

– Vanguard Newspaper

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