22 August 2014, Lagos – The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents NCMDLCA, have petitioned the nation’s port economic regulator, the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC over deficiencies in the operation of APM Terminals that is resulting in irregular cost on importers.
In the petition signed by the Deputy National President of the council, Uchu Block, said that the concessionaire apply tricks to exploit the economy to the detriment of government thereby making the 48 hours target unachievable.
According to Block, “The booking of containers for customs examination or scanning takes from one week to two. The security risk they expose customers of their service to is another thing of great worry.
“Any agent wishing to go their Point Road office for the purpose of booking containers for examination must arrive at APMT’s office before 6am. It is a common site to find more than 200 agents waiting at their office before 8am every day.
They will attend to only 100 agents and ask the others to return the next day, even when it is not 10am yet. The number they attend to will be given advanced dates of positioning within three to four days ahead in the case of physical examination and a week or more for scanning.
“Rather than treat customers of their service with respect, the management of APMT invites police who come and use tear-gas on agents continuously on the 23rd of July, 2014. The office they are using at 3 Point Road is too small to contain the large number of customers of their services.
“The former Transport Minister in 2010 gave them a week ultimatum to relocate their office to a better one to accommodate the number of agents they serve daily, the ultimatum was not respected,” he noted.
Continuing, Block in the petition pointed out that “We attach herewith a test case of 5 x 20 containers shipping company and APMT charges have been paid as at the 10th of July 2014.
The agent found out that the containers were selected for scanning instead of physical examination previously paid for on the 19th of July 2014 APMT requested another booking for scanning which was paid on the 18th of July 2014. The agent made several attempts to book for scanning without success.”
Block further noted that the agent finally succeeded in booking on the 23rd of July 2014 and was told that scanning of his containers will begin on the 25th of July 2014. He stated that the agent was told that only one container of the five containers will be scanned daily from that day.
He pointed out that the agent said despite the above, only one of the containers has been scanned as at 30th of July 2014.
The Deputy President of NCMDLCA said that the practice has been on over the years and that his council had written to the management of APMT in 2010 to complain about abnormally but noted that they did not do anything about it.
Although Vanguard gathered that a meeting between both parties was recently held at the office of the NSC, some operators are of the view that nothing meaningful will come out of such meeting.