10 March 2015, Lagos – Members of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) have said their income has been significantly eroded as a result of the sliding value of the naira and low import volume.
Speaking over the weekend, STOAN Chairman, Princess (Dr.) Vicky Haastrup said at the current exchange rate of the Naira to the U. S. Dollar, Terminal Handling Charges (THC) have effectively been eroded by 58% in value.
“Most of our commitments are in dollars whereas we charge in naira but due to the devaluation of the naira, you’ll see that what we charge today is effectively 42 per cent of its value in 2006 when you convert to the USD.
“This is significant for us because we now need more naira to fulfill our dollar commitments.“It might be recalled that in 2006, one USD exchanged for about N130 but today it is more than N220 to the dollar which implies a significant decline of about 65 per cent in the value of the national currency since port concession,” she said.
Princess Haastrup added that the situation has been compounded by a drop in cargo volume at the port since the beginning of the year.“Vessel call dropped by half in the first month of this year. Volume also dropped significantly by an average of 27 per cent across the various terminals. Some terminals suffered more drop in volume than this,” she said.
The STOAN Chairman said that only 29 vessels were declared for the Lagos Pilotage District (LPD) between the last week of February and the first week of March 2015.
“This number includes tankers, container vessels, general cargo vessels and all. It is very unusual. Ordinarily, about 60 vessels would be declared within the same period” she said.