26 September 2013, Lagos – THE Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar has blamed the perennial congestion which has engulfed Ashaye terminal of the Tin Can Island port on inadequate logistics support including scanning of containers by the terminal operator.
Umar noted that the inefficient cargo transfer mechanism is the root cause of the worrisome situation that has also become a source of worry for the presidency.
The Minister who was on a tour of some of the terminals said that the issue of space constraint is another problem that the government will also look into in an effort to address the issue of port congestion.
Tin Can Island Container Terminal, TICT, as the terminal operator has the responsibility of taking delivery of imported cargoes which it thereafter transfers to the scanning site of the service provider, Cotecna Destination Inspection company.
The Minister also decried the slow process of transfer of cargo by the Terminal Operator, adding that the incessant server break down compounds goods clearing procedure.
According to the Minister who was accompanied by top officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, during the facts-finding tour, the congestion problem could have largely been averted if the delays associated with feeding the scanning facilities with containers had been addressed.
He disclosed that though an average of 150-200 containers were being transferred daily, the service provider had maintained that its facilities had the capacity to scan a minimum of 400 per day.
Senator Umar also noted that the situation was being compounded by the large number of empty containers at the terminal and ordered that a Committee to resolve the issue of empty containers be set up immediately.
He added that the Committee should be headed by the Executive Director Port and Marine Operations of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, with representatives from Customs, TICT, NPA, Shipping Companies, Cotecna, APM terminal, and clearing agents’ bodies.
“We went round the terminal with the Minister and the representatives of the Service Provider and the Terminal Operators, and we can all see the problem. TICT has a lot of cargo, no space because empty containers have taken over most of the available spaces.
Cotecna is waiting to scan, no cargo transfer from TICT because of transportation problems.
“Cotecna have told us that they can scan up to 400 containers in a day, but they (terminal operator) only make 200 available…sometimes less because the trucks are inadequate. They have not allowed us to test the true capacity of Cotecna by supplying them with that 400 so that everybody can see.
“I can assure you that the problem with TICT is being addressed. They are now to transfer excess containers to off dock facilities, and we do hope that this will take care of most of the problem,” he said.
Reacting to the lingering issue, the management of Cotecna through its spokesperson Aminu Mohammed maintained that the capacity of the installed scanners at Tincan Port is grossly underutilized.
He disclosed that while the daily capacity of the 9.0 MeV fixed scanner at Tincan Ashaye is 400 boxes and the mobile scanner at Tincan RoRo can handle 300 boxes, within the current month of September 2013 the company has so far accomplished only daily average of 185 and 108 for the 2 sites respectively.