The Federal government may be asked to prevail on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to concede a 30% waiver on lease and container throughput fees charges to terminal operators in order to cushion the effect of the Apapa traffic.
This move was being contemplated by the Presidential Task Force on Apapa gridlock as part of its multi- prong approach to solving the protracted Apapa gridlock.
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr Hassan Bello dropped this hint in an interview with maritime journalists in Lagos recently.
Bello said that the traffic situation in Apapa calls for special sacrifices from all stakeholders involved in the port process.
Already, he said that terminal operators would also be extending their three days demurrage free periods to eight days, while shipping companies have extended their free demurrage periods from 5 to 12 days.
However, it was gathered that the terminal operators have argued that unless the NPA grants them concession on the lease payments they made to the agency monthly, they may not yield ground on the Presidential task force request.
But Bello disclosed that the Council is currently in talks with NPA on the need to grant the 30% waiver in port dues to terminal operators.
He however noted that this would be a temporary measure as the long term solution to the Apapa gridlock is still underway.
Hassan Bello said “The terminals are going to make sacrifices that for the three days free days period, they are extending it to eight days, this is also what we call sacrifice, as for the shipping companies, they are extending their free demurrage periods from 5 to 12 days”
“We are also talking with NPA to also relax and make the charges and give 30% waiver of certain charges within the period contemplated, this is a temporary measure, but this is what I call general average sacrifice in order to save the situation, when a ship is about to capsize, we have a general average situation where the heavy cargoes are jettisoned and thrown overboard in order for the ship to survive”
“This is what we have been doing, everybody is coming along. Why the usual taskforce failed at that time was because there was no coming of minds, it was just touching of one thing, meanwhile the problem of the port is an hydra headed monster, when you cut one, another three will spring up” he said
Speaking on the dwell time of cargoes at Nigerian ports, the Shippers Council boss lamented that as a result of infrastructure decay and failure, the cargo dwell time is now getting uncomfortably longer and this is not good for business.
He said “Don’t forget that we are competing with other ports and we need to make our ports efficient, but with the way the government is going now, I think all the challenges will be a thing of the past”
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