Freight forwarders berate terminal operators for poor safety compliance amidst Covid-19

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Freight forwarders berate terminal operators for poor safety compliance amidst Covid-19
Abiola Seun    |   Amidst rising Coronavirus pandemic, clearing agents operating at the nation’s seaports have sought the intervention of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to compel terminal operators to provide the necessary safety gadgets for their staff and other port users.

Stakeholders who spoke to journalists on the issue, explained that some of the terminal operators do not have safety gadgets like fire-fighting equipment, protective gears for their staff, ambulance in case of emergency, among other safety materials.

Chairman, Ports and Terminal Multiservice Limited, PTML branch of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Ari Ayuba, said that in terms of safety, most of the terminal operators have scored far below the pass mark.

He noted that there have been several instances of fire outbreaks at various terminals, which took the intervention of NPA and other agencies to put out the fire.1

He stated, “I will rate all the terminal operators zero in terms of provision of safety for port users, even though they say they operate on the highest level of safety standards of the International Ships and Ports Security Code, ISPC.

“On compliance, I will rate them zero because they do not have fire-fighting equipment. There was this fire incident that happened at the container complex in PTML opposite MRS tank farm; it engulfed the offices there and the terminal operator could not even provide a wheelbarrow with a bucket of water. If not for the nearby MRS that had to extend their hose to the facility, the damage would have been worse.”

“The indiscriminate barricading of the terminals after the concessioning exercise is a disservice. I will give you one instance, some few years back when there was an explosion at MRS; people were trapped inside the terminal at PTML because there is only one gangway that people pass through.

“They had to open up the area where the consignments were to provide a buffer for people to get out. You find out now that everywhere has been caged, making it difficult for an emergency escape route in times of emergencies.
“Yes, they may have some fire extinguishers here and there but the major one is that what if there is a serious fire incident, what will happen? That is my take on that.

“NPA has given the terminal operators a safety guidelines for operations; if they do not comply, NPA should sanction them or close down their operations,” he stated.

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