25 September 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – FOLLOWING the visit to some of the terminals in the Lagos ports area, the Transport Minister, Senator Idris Umar has directed that containers that cannot be handled by any terminal operator should be transferred to off-dock terminals to reduce the number of containers presently causing congestion at the port.
The Minister has equally directed that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, should not stem vessels to any terminal that is having a pile-up of containers within its facility.
Umar had set up a committee to look at the issue of congestion at the Tin Can Island Container Terminal, TICT, as well as the physical examination site at APM Terminals which has generated a lot of complaints from port operators.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos yesterday after a closed door meeting with stakeholders, Chairman of the Committee and Executive Director Marine and Operations of the NPA, David Omonibeke said that the committee is committed to clearing the congestion at the port before the end of the year.
He said that the committee has directed that terminal operators must liaise with other terminals to handle their cargo if they do not have adequate space for the consignments.
“If they are handling over their capacity, ships will now be stemmed to the next berth of the terminals that are free so that the issue of congestion will be reduced,” he assured.
“The second option is the off-dock terminals that are accessible, they can also stem containers to these off-dock terminals so that the port will be used just for transit area and we can reduce the congestion,” Omonibeke said.
He said that the committee is also focusing on how more containers can be scanned in a day, adding that part of the resolution of the committee is that the NPA’s Port Managers will ensure that the traffic officers are with the terminal operators on a day-to -day basis to monitor the scanning process in order to ensure that they meet their target.
“Once they have a left over that can cause build-up, the Harbours department will be directed to stem vessels to another terminal so that there will be synergy, and with the cooperation of the customs to see how delays and dwell time can be reduced at the various terminals.”
“This resolution is cuts across all the terminals” he said.
Speaking on the dilapidated scanning site of the APM Terminals that has generated controversies, Omonibeke said that the terminal operator has assured of an alternative space for now that can take care of 200 containers.
He however maintained that the 30 days ultimatum earlier given to the terminal is still standing and that at the end of the ultimatum, the committee will pay another visit to the terminal.
“We believe they can do more than that, we are counting days, we want to see to it that even though they create a temporary space,, they will fix the scanning area and move back there.
“The 30 days ultimatum is still standing, we will still visit them, they are creating a temporary measure but they must comply with the directive” he said.