29 September 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – IN a bid to resolve the issue of port congestion currently being experienced at the Lagos ports, the Federal Government has ordered that vessels should not be stemmed to terminals until their back log are cleared.
This was part of the resolution reached by the Committee set up by the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar to resolve the lingering port congestion that has almost grounded port operations in Lagos.
The Committee which was headed by the Executive Director, Marine Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, also resolved that containers positioned for examination should be inspected within 36 hours.
It was further resolved that any stakeholder that causes any form of delay in the course of examination will bear the cost that goes with such delays, adding that terminal operators should ensure that cargo handling equipment is made available for multiple examination.
Parts of the resolution reads “It is agreed that the Minister of Transport would request the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance to direct the Comptroller General of Customs to consider allowing for re-routing of containers (from scanning to physical examination) to ease congestion”.
It was resolved that freight forwarding groups should stop the collection of members’ fees inside the port premises to avoid delay in the exit of cargoes out of the ports.
It was also that the managements of the NPA and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, should collaborate to streamline and harmonize charges for the use of Off-dock terminals just as terminal operators are encouraged to adopt the use of barges where applicable for the transfer of containers to such facilities.
The Committee further resolved that any container examined, but declared for detention by any security agency shall be formally reported to the Nigeria Customs Service by the Security agency issuing the detention order.
The Committee which was given three days to submit its reports also discovered that large portions of some of the affected terminals have been taken over by empty containers and resolved that once a terminal has more containers than it can handle, the next vessel should be stemmed to the next terminal.
The port Managers of the affected terminals were mandated to ensure compliance by monitoring and enforcement of the resolutions through their traffic departments on a daily basis.
In a swift reaction, the Chairman of the Tin-Can Island Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Prince Kayode Oyinlola told newsmen that they have gone through this before, noting that if the government fails to ensure the implementation of these resolutions, the issue of port congestion will not be resolved.