Sifax Blames FG’s Policies for Decline in General Cargo Volume

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Eromosele Abiodun

The Managing Director of Sifax Group, John Jenkins has decried the activities of companies in the group in the first half of the year, saying they were adversely affected by the economic policies of the federal government, particularly the challenge of sourcing foreign exchange.
Consequently, he said Sifax Group recorded significant decline across its various business units during the period.

Speaking at the mid-year press briefing of the group in Lagos, Jenkins said that Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, which is one of the subsidiaries of the group, recorded 10 per cent drop in container throughput and 50 per cent drop in the volume of general cargo cargoes handled at the facility when compared with the numbers of 2015.

Jenkins said Sifax Haulage and Logistics Limited recorded approximately 20 per cent decline in volume in the first half of the year, despite signing new business deals with some new clients.
‎He, however, noted that Sifax Offdock, its inland container depot subsidiary with three terminals in Okota, Trinity and Ijora, Lagos, recorded 54.11 per cent increase for received containers while deliveries improved by 50.23 per cent.

The Sifax boss attributed the decline in activities to the challenges of sourcing foreign exchange being experienced by importers, bad port access roads and poor electricity supply.

According to him, “Electricity is a challenge; we solely rely on diesel to power all our heavy equipment and generators for 24 hours operations. This has greatly increased the cost of doing business and drastically reduced our profit margin. The access roads to the ports are in a deplorable state and this has created a source of worry to stakeholders in the industry.”

In his speech, Managing Director of Ports & Cargo at Sifax, Mallam Muhammed Bulangu promised that despite the decrease in profit, the terminal remains committed to rendering quality services to its customers.

He said: “As the flagship of the group, if we sneeze, the other subsidiaries will catch cold‎. We don’t have issues with our clients or any complains. The throughput and revenue has dropped, we are not doing optimally, but what we are doing is trying to ensure that we render the best services possible to our clients by reducing the turnaround time of vessels and ensuring that we encourage customers to clear their cargoes when they arrive without delay.”

Bulangu appealed to‎ the federal government to fix the Tin Can Island Port access road. He noted that the road was built 40 years ago and government has since refused to carry out any maintenance work on it.
He said Ports & Cargo has spent a lot of money to apply palliatives on make the road motorable.