Hassan Bello raises alarm over high turn around time for vessels at Lagos ports. — accuses Importers of turning port to warehouse.

Abiola Seun

The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello has lamented that waiting time for vessels bound for Lagos ports at anchorage has risen to 50 days from the initial three days due to reluctance of clearing agents to clear importers’ cargoes out of the seaport.

The waiting time is being triggered by congestion at various terminals because importers believed port is cheaper for cargo storage than warehouse.
Barrister Bello who disclosed this at a public function in Lagos said during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, importers abandoned cargoes at seaports because warehouses were shutdown.

He however said since it is cheaper to store cargoes at the seaports than having a warehouse, importers have refused to clear cargoes out of the ports and causing congestion at the port.

Bello who was represented by the Director, Regulatory Services, Ifeoma Ezedinma said that was the reason why export cargoes were unable to access the seaport.
He said, “right now there are challenges in all the terminals because vessels are waiting 50 days at anchorage because the terminals are completely filled up.
“Owners of cargoes aren’t taking out their cargoes. That is actually the challenge because no way for export to gain access but it’s something we are working on, we are actually driving it and it’s going in slowly but we can do better than that.”

He continued, “Right now, the terminals are heavily congested, look around, you see boxes, we are not supposed to have boxes in terminal because it is not a warehouse but most of the people that own these boxes are reluctant to take them out because they don’t have market for their goods yet they think it’s safer and cheaper in the terminals than warehouse.

“For instance, during the lockdown, warehouses were shut down so they will rather leave it here in the port but the ripple effect is that the vessels are paying to sit at anchorage before they can berth. Its 50 days and that is a lot of money for them and the final consumers bear the brunt at the end of the days,” he lamented.

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