14 September 2013, Lagos – In response to the barrage of complaints emanating from port operators about the alleged inadequate services rendered by the terminal, President Goodluck Jonathan has given APM Terminals 30 days ultimatum to put its terminal in order or risk closure.
The President sent his Senior Special Assistant on Maritime Affairs, Mr. Leke Oyewole on an unscheduled visit to the APMT and the Tin Can Island Container Terminals in Lagos yesterday for an on-the-spot inspection, to ascertain the veracity of the complaints emanating from the sector.
The Presidential aid issued the deadline at the end of a stakeholders meeting between the APMT, the TICT, Nigerian Port Authority, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Nigeria Customs Service, truck operators and the freight forwarding associations.
The President expressed disappointment that the APMT had disregarded with impunity the directives and advice of Ministers of Transport, National Planning and the Comptroller General of Customs.
He also noted that the APMT does not have adequate cargo handling equipment and that its claims of massive investment are nothing but a hoax.
Speaking with SweetcrudeRport at the end of the meeting, Oyewole stated that, “We have heard the issues and they seem the same both at Tincan and APMT, and the first thing is the inadequacy of equipment”
“The 30 days ultimatum came out of the fact that ministers had intervened. I am taking this to the president who knows what to do, the APMT cannot be bigger than Nigeria, we have the masses to serve”.
“They should concentrate on servicing the people, what they are doing now is to service themselves the way they have designed their project, if you buy equipment you are only making more money”
“We are giving you 30 days, that place must be paved, we still have what it takes to ensure that you do what is needful”
The President’s aid also directed that NPA should implement its agreement with the shipping companies and ensure that it provides holding bays, failure to do this will result into suspension of activities at the shipping company.
He also alleged that the TICT is conniving with shipping companies to turn their terminal into holding bays at the expense of the container deposits paid by importers.
“They have turned Nigeria into a holding bay at the expense of Nigerians importing goods, the agents lose money deposited with them, while the terminal operators enjoy the chaos”, he sressed.
Some of the resolutions reached stipulates that the NPA should reduce the stemming of vessels to TICT until the terminal operator provides space and prove that it is efficient to handle more cargoes. The authority is to direct shipping companies to direct shipment to bonded terminals with effective monitoring.
Meanwhile, freight forwarding associations represented by Prince Olayiwola Shittu of ANLCA, Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam and NAGAFF President, Chief Eugene Nweke, vowed that at the end of the 30 days ultimatum to the APMT, the agents will picket the gates of the APMT and the TICT if services are not upgraded.
“We were waiting for the coming of the presidential aide and that is why we have not taken any action,” Prince Olayiwola Shittu said.