Government agencies in the maritime sector such as the Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) must gear-up and wake up to their responsibilities if the problem of Apapa gridlock must be solved.
Stakeholders at the Powerful Pen Media special Congress held in Lagos who insisted that one of the major causes of the Apapa gridlock is the absence of holding bay for empty containers maintained that unless this is addressed, the solution may be farfetched.
Tincan chapter Chairman of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Alh. Kazeem Isa Adua while insisting that the difficulty of access and exit at the ports is one of the reasons why Nigerian ports are the most expensive in the subregion and contribute about 35 percent of the cost of operations, said ” NPA and Shippers Council who are the Federal Government watchdog must monitor the activities of terminal operators in the area to ensure the terminal operators have dumping bays or holding bays as well as put up truck call-up mechanism to ease free flow of traffic within the ports.”
Managing Director, Bontex Nigeria Ltd., Chief Boniface Okoye, in the same vein, noted that the shipping companies are not regulated and that the terminal operators do not listen to anybody and exploit Nigerians without being checked, through container deposits that are often not refunded, reckless demurrage charges and similar other nefarious practices.
Chief Okoye equally faulted the consessioning of the nation’s ports to those who he said lacked the capacity to provide infrastructures or effectively manage the nations ports.
He insisted that the same people who own the shipping companies are the ones who influence policies as well as collude with traffic managers to frustrate agents’ efforts.”
The shipping companies he further noted are not checked, hence they operate with reckless abandon.
He criticised the NSC for failing to regulate what the shippers pay to the shipping companies, but rather approve whatever the shipping companies charge because of pecuniary interest.
Also in an Earlier address Chairman of National Association of Road Transport owners (NARTO), Alh. Abdulahi Inua who called on the relevant authorities to mandate the shipping companies to provide holding bays for empty containers expressed the view that close to 80 per cent the trucks blocking the roads are carrying empty containers.