16 April 2015, Lagos – The management of A. P. Moller terminal in Apapa, yesterday, admitted that its terminal operating system suffered a data-base failure, last Sunday, thereby trapping thousands of containers in the process, but that the system was now up and running.
However, in a sharp reaction, agents operating at the terminal have vehemently debunked A. P. Moller’s claims, saying they had been having problems positioning their containers for examination for almost a week before the system failure.
Already, some agents operating there had concluded plans to shut down the facility if the system was not re-connected and made to work efficientlyly.
Confirming the development, founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, said there was technical problem that was being resolved, adding that about 41 containers had been dropped for examination.
Aniebonam said that by today, the system would have been improved upon and more containers dropped for examination.
He, however, denied the threat of any group of agents who wanted to shut the port because of the issue of system break-down.
“System break-down can occur any time and if anybody is aggrieved as a result of the development, there are appropriate channels to register such complaints.
“We should learn to follow due process and stop behaving as if we are in a banana republic,” he said.
Most of the agents Vanguard spoke to said the greatest fear was the imposition of demurrage on their containers occasioned by the system break-down.
Speaking in a similar vein, the Deputy President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Mr. Uchu Block, said the pressure occasioned by Customs’ scanning machines, might have impacted on the system of A. P. Moller terminal.
The Customs Area Comptroller of Apapa port, Mr. Charles Edike told Vanguard that there was a stakeholders’ meeting, yesterday, adding that the management of A. P. Moller took time to explain the problem and what they had done to correct the hitch.
He said the system had been reconnected and that the terminal was up and running.
In its reaction, APM Terminals Apapa Communication and Sustainability Manager, Mr. Austine Fischer, confirmed its terminal operating system suffered a data-base failure early Sunday morning.
According to Fischer, the incident has caused a disruption in operations at the terminal and, to a lesser degree, at the shipside.
“The terminal operating system is now fully operational, but as the data-base is rebuilt, we have had to temporarily resort to some manual processes.
“This has not affected the receipt of empty and full export containers into the terminal, but delivery of full import containers has been interrupted due to lack of clear visibility of Customs’ release status.
“We expect this situation to be resolved and deliveries of imports to recommence accordingly, “ he added
The terminal, Fischer explained, was forced to shut down all e-Commerce portal services, including, invoicing, receipting and refund until full data was restored.
He said: “Hence, all transactions will need to be performed at our Customer Service Office located at the terminal. Until our e-Commerce portals are re-opened, agents/importers are advised to approach the Customer Service Office with hard copies of receipts and invoices of their previous transaction.
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this is causing our customers, but we are working hard to ensure normal operations resume as soon as possible.”