31 October 2013, Lagos – Contrary to the high level of importation and increase in port activities that usually characterise the end of every year, maritime stakeholders have complained that the story is different this year as cargo traffic at the ports in Lagos is dropping by the day.
The stakeholders who spoke with newsmen in Lagos, Monday, hinged the drop in port activities on the refusal of the banks to grant facilities to importers.
Also, freight forwarders who spoke to Vanguard, said the situation has led to losing business as their clients now prefer using Port Harcourt port, as well as diverting their activities to land borders.
A licensed Customs agent and chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Chief Achike Molokwu blamed the situation on the unfriendly policies rolled out by the Federal Government on cargo clearance through the seaports.
Molokwu explained: “When we asked some of these importers, they said getting loans from the bank is difficult, while the policy guarding clearing at seaports is cumbersome and that they usually lose out when they get to the warehouse.
“Cargo traffic has dropped, we are not happy at all; if you look at the statistics, it’s like it is dropping every day. This is because the policy rolled out by the Federal Government on importation is so tight that importers are not finding it funny again to operate.
“Most of them are now patronising land borders. Personally, I have lost two importers because the problem of the seaport is too much.
He maintained that there are lots of bottlenecks at the port, but that when importers use the land borders, the process is less cumbersome because they get cargoes straight to their various warehouses.
– Godwin Oritse, Vanguard