Chinazor Megbolu |
In a bid towards ease of doing business and free flow of traffic in the Apapa Wharf area, the Association of Nigerian Customs Licensed Agents (ANLCA) has urged terminal operators to open up their jetties for cargo evacuation by barges.
The Chairman, Tin-Can Island Port Chapter of ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan said this at the weekend explaining that terminal operators at Tin-Can port have agreed to allow private barges to pull up at their jetties to evacuate containers.
He stated that terminal operators had been charging high rates anytime they allow barges to load containers from their terminals.
On congestion, he posited the congestion at the terminals and the suffering that agents go through daily before evacuating their goods, signaled the recent setting up a committee of all past chairmen and some executives of ANLCA at Tin Can chapter to chart a new course for terminal operators.
Oduntan buttressed that the aforementioned was the reason behind the partnership with government agencies and terminal operators on how to ease the port congestion.
The committee has convened series of stakeholder meetings with Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service, Port Police, and others. The association, however, prevailed on terminal operators to allow cargo evacuation by barges.
Oduntan maintained that it is cheaper to transport cargoes through barges than transportation by road.
According to him, it takes N270,000 to transport containers from Tin-Can Island Port to the Ikorodu, Epe axis of Lagos State.
“Terminal operators have accepted that agents should go through their shipping companies to evacuate containers by barges.
“TICT is the one receiving the largest cargo in Tin Can Port, so they should have that alternative route of decongesting their terminal, they must not compromise it at all.
“They refused to allow importers to use the barges before now because they were looking at barge operations from a business angle, TICT was using its own barge to convey cargoes to their extended terminals including SCOA.
“Right now, this can no longer work because the vessels at anchorage are now increasing, they are getting delayed because there is no space to discharge inside the port.
“If your cargo is supposed to go to Ibadan, Shagamu, Benin, and Abuja, instead of paying N1.5million to get a truck to Abuja, you can use M270,000 to transport containers to Ikorodu, from there you can get a truck for N500,000 to Abuja.
“By so doing, you have saved more than N500,000 and cut out the delays and traffic gridlock.
“There are private terminals now littering Ikorodu, Itokin and Epe areas of Lagos State where barges now transfer containers to after they are released from the port”.
Oduntan frowned at the gridlock witnessed daily in Apapa saying several companies and businesses have folded up, while staff are forced to stay at home because their raw material imports are trapped at the port.
He said the committee is now the watchdog at the port now and due to their intervention, the Mile2 – Tin Can end of Apapa Oshodi expressway is a bit free for trucks
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