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How Maerskline lied over holding bays – NPA


Funso Olojo      |           


The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has punctured the claims of the Maersk Nigeria Limited that it has four holding bays in compliance with the directive of the government agency.


It would be recalled that the NPA suspended the operations of four shipping companies, including Maerskline, for 10 days over their failure to comply with the directive of the agency for the shipping agencies to have holding bays that will accommodate their empty containers.


But Maersk Nigeria Limited, in an advisory issued to its customers, claimed it has four holding bays with a combined capacity of 8,150 TEUs.


However in a swift reaction, the government agency said nothing could be farther from the truth.


In a telephone interview with Malam Isah Suwaid, the Assistant General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, he said from the record available to the agency, Maersk Nigeria Limited has only two holding bays with a combined storage capacity of 1400 TEUs.


“In February 14, this year, NPA carried out an audit in conjunction with the committee on shipping companies to determine the available capacity of storage of empty containers at the off-dock facilities of shipping companies.


“Maerskline at that time has holding capacity for 1000 TEUs empty containers at its Unity bonded terminal.


“At its PMS (HBX) holding bay at Apapa, it has 400 TEUs container capacity” the NPA spokesman declared.


Malam Suwaid further disclosed that the audit report was signed and certified by an official of the Maersk Nigeria Limited.


“For them to claim they have four holding bays is standing truth on its head”, Suwaid noted.


Suwaid stated that the embattled shipping line put up this spurious claim in an attempt to safe its face with its teeming customers.


However, NPA has vowed to follow up with the sanction if the affected companies failed to make any appreciable progress towards compliance as the 10-day suspension was just the first instance in the series of punitive measures lined up against the recalcitrant shipping companies.


Other shipping companies suspended alongside Maerskline were Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal shipping.


The Maerskline had described its suspension as a misguided exercise by the NPA.


“It is misguiding for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to suspend Maersk Nigeria Limited for failing to acquire and operate holding bays for empty containers as Maersk Nigeria Limited operates 4 holding bays within the Lagos environ with a storage capacity of 8,150 TEUs which is more than 50% of the discharge average.


“Maersk Nigeria Limited have complied fully with this directive and have followed the Call-Up protocol for use of the holding bays stipulated by the Nigerian Ports Authority” the shipping company claimed.


However, it was gathered that the NPA was said to be infuriated with what the agency described as the negative antics of Maersk Nigeria Limited in an attempt to blackmail the NPA over the vexed issue of holding bay.


“It was most irresponsible behaviour of a company of such international status to resort to bare-faced lies over the capacity of its storage facility.


“It also clearly shows the intention of the company to want to attempt to arm – twist the NPA in its (Maerskline) desire to gain cheap public sympathy” a highly placed source noted.


The source further maintained that the embattled shipping company may be in for a long spell of service suspension due to what was regarded as its uncharitable approach to the issue of holding bays.


There have been series of complaints over the high-handedness of shipping companies most especially Maerskline in recent times.


It would be recalled that the NPA said the 10-day suspension slammed on the shipping company is renewable depending on the level of its compliance.









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