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5,000 abandoned containers  compound congestion at Seaports– NPA

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Abiola Seun

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), yesterday said there are at least 5,000 abandoned containers at the nation’s ports, resulting in congestion of the ports.

The Acting Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello, stated this during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Customs.

Speaking further, Bello said other challenges experienced at the ports  include extortion at illegal checkpoints around the ports.

The NPA boss stated that the over 5,000 containers are currently stocked at various terminals including Onne, Calabar, Warri, among others, blocking  business activities, adding that certain changes introduced by Customs and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) contributes to the existing challenges at the Ports.

“Let me mention here sir, currently there are over 5,000 containers across the ports that are overtime cargoes, a cargo is overtime after 90 days.

“Some of these containers are actually more than a year old, and when you leave these containers there, you are also occupying space that would have been used for containers imported into this country.
“For instance APMT has 1,051, WACT has 660, Intels has 169, ECMT has 574; we will give you the breakdown of all of them.

“Now let me add sir, the containers are supposed to be evacuated to Ikorodu terminal.

“Currently Ikorodu terminal has over 2,500 containers, the place is filled up. Nigeria Customs has not auctioned  containers to the best of our knowledge in recent times.
“So there is even no space to take empty containers. We haven’t seen any container moved out of Ikorodu terminal for auction, so there is need for that to be done in order to free ports of overtime cargoes.  Some of them have been there for so many years.
“So that is a major problem, and if that can be handled, the terminals will be freerer to receive more imports and there will be more space for that.

“And then Ikorodu went empty that is, if Customs auction these containers, it will now have more space to move overtime cargoes to those locations.

“There were containers that were seized at the terminals that were containing explosives, the kind of explosives that created issues in the route, we heard that one of the remaining containers have been taken away about a week ago.
” So we have so many containers, there are jerry-cans of petrol at Ikorodu, I’ve written on that, so that Nigeria
Customs will take action, so that all those items are taken out, the other issue is about export containers and procedures.”

According to him, there are over 20 checkpoints mounted by the police, and in some cases, area boys collect these monies on behalf of security agencies.

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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