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“How ship owners incur losses to undefined government policies in Nigerian ports” – LCCI

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Segun Oladipupo

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday outlined most of the challenges confronting ship owners in Nigeria.

The Chamber decried the multiple approval processes required to bring in cargoes from other parts of the world

It added that the menace among others are constituting delay and losses to the ship owners as well as psychological trauma to vessel crews.

Chinyere Almona stated this while presenting a paper at the BAAC Integrity Alliance Inaugural Meeting held in Lagos on Tuesday.

The DG, who was represented at the event by Aminu Umar, Chairman, Maritime Group of the Chamber, lamented what the ship owner pass through in the hands of government agencies while bringing cargoes into the country.

He said, “There are many challenges starting from the terminal to transporting the goods from the ports to the warehouse. There are many infrastructural gaps which we think should be addressed because if the gaps are creating inefficiency, then there would be room for corruption.

Stating categorically the challenges of ship owners, Almona maintained that the number of approvals required to bring in wet cargoes not only lead to delay but losses to the ship owners.

According to him, about five approvals are required from different agencies to bring in cargoes into the country by ship.

He therefore sought the intervention of the Maritime Anti Corruption Network to nip the problem in the bud.

His words, “There are many approval processes especially if you are carrying wet cargo like oil. Not only will you need approval from NPA, Customs, NIMASA, DPR, you will need approval from Navy too and these things are causing delays and losses.

On discharge of cargo at a different port from the originally scheduled one, he said it was practically impossible as it would require that new payment is made

He explained that such arrangement should not be since the port is a single entity and that services should be made possible in any of the ports since they are managed by the same authority.

“If you look at the payment procedure in  our ports today, for example, if your vessel is supposed to berth in Apapa port and cannot because of congestion, and you want to berth in Tincan, the approval processes if you have made payment is impossible. There is no flexibility.

“Or if you want to move from Lagos to Port Harcourt because your customers are there, to avoid delaying for ten days, it is impossible if you have made payment and it means you have lost the payment.

“You need to make another payment and it is not supposed to be so because the port is a single entity and once you make payment to the Authority, you should be able to use their services in any of their ports,” she stated.

“When our vessels berth at Bonny years before, as owners, it is something that we start going to our churches or mosques and start praying because you get confused how things are going there

“We look at the loss side because of the delay, losses I cured but we don’t look at the psychological trauma that the crew pass through.

“It is not everybody that can bear it when you say you are going to be detained, you are arrested,you are coming in illegally, before you know it. The person might fall down and be rushed to the hospital

“These are all that ships have been experiencing over the years because there is no transparency in the correct laws guiding it but I will have to congratulate you because these things have all changed”

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