Bala-Usman Tasks Terminal Operators, Shipping Companies on Port Congestion

0
Hadiza Bala-Usman

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hajia Hadiza Bala-Usman, has called on terminal operators, shipping companies and allied stakeholders to eradicate the present congestion at the nation’s seaports.

The authority in a statement on Saturday signed by Mr Adams Jatto, its General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications, said that, Bala-Usman on Friday held meeting with the port users to resolve the crisis.

Jatto said that the port MD told the stakeholders that the meeting was convened in compliance with a directive from the Vice President of the Federal republic of Nigeria and Chairman, Ease of Doing Business Council, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Jatto quoted the port chief executive officer to have said, “the issue of ports congestion should be of concern to all and therefore they should look into the issue of evacuation of empty containers.

“Increase in free days of storage, wavering of demurrage for a definite period of time, creating a window of some period to accommodate the concerns of importers,’’Bala-Usman said.

She further noted that government was desirous of getting things done more smoothly, and therefore NPA would do everything possible to facilitate trade in the maritime sector.

She added that the NPA would encourage shipping companies to patronise other Ports outside Lagos, particularly Onne Port.

“Among the efforts NPA has made include the use of Barges to move cargoes to Ikorodu, collaborating with other stakeholders to construct access roads in Apapa, encourage Dangote Private Jetty Project, promote Intermodal Transportation System.

The terminal operators raised concerns that the Nigerian Customs Service (NC) has not auctioned any cargo at the Port in recent times as one of the causes of the crisis.

Bala-Usman while responding to the concerns of the operators appealed to the service to step up efforts at auctioning over time cargos on time.

Adding that the measure would discourage importers from turning the port into storage facility and that the owners of such cargo should be asked to remove them immediately.

Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, Mrs Vicky Haastrup of the ENL Consortium, said that the measures being taken by the Federal Government would affect their revenue negatively as many operators present also expressed similar concerns.

NPA assured them that the measure was an emergency situation solution that they were subject to review. (NAN)