Abiola Seun |
Importers and clearing agents operating at the Port and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) have bemoaned vandalisation and looting of vehicles imported into the country through the terminal.
Speaking to newsmen, a vehicle importer, David Okanlawon said his vehicle brought into the country from the United States was looted and vandalised at the terminal.
Also, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), PTML chapter confirmed vehicle pilfering at the terminal.
Okanlawon said his vehicle, Toyota Camry that was imported from the United States of America (USA) and discharged at the PTML terminal had all its component looted inside the terminal.
According to him, the vehicle battery, air condition compressor, side mirror, extra tyre among others were all pilfered within 72 days that the vehicle spent in the terminal.
Okanlawon who said the vehicle was discharged from MV HOEGH XIAMEN on the 28th March 2020 said he was surprised that vehicles could still be pilfered after terminals were concessioned to private operators.
He said, “my woes started on 28th of March, 2020 when my vehicle was discharged at PTML terminal. It was the second day the federal government began enforcement of lockdown so, the clearing agent that was supposed to clear the vehicle out of the terminal was unable to access the ports.
“But, after the lockdown was relaxed in Lagos and he went to the port to clear the vehicle, an invoice of N353,990 was raised with N269,600 slammed on me as demurrage for the 72 days the vehicles spent in their terminal.”
Okanlawon, who has a car mart in Port Harcourt said he was surprised that despite paying huge amount on demurrage as charged by the shipping line, his vehicle was still pilfered to that extent.
“I never knew Nigeria seaport has a terrible security architecture like this because vital components in the vehicle were pilfered, the battery, compressor, side mirrors and even some components of the engine were stolen.”
Okanlawon who showed the before and after picture of the vehicle to journalists said he was disappointed at the level of pilfering in the terminal.
Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer, PTML chapter of ANLCA, Ayo Sulaiman said “wharf rats” have returned to PTML, damaging imported vehicles
According to him, the management of the terminal has always been living in denial about the development.
He said, “the wharf rats that were once defeated at the seaports have returned and we know that a whole container was burgled in Port and Cargo terminal some time ago. But, I know pilfering of vehicles happens mostly at mile 2 annex of the terminal and the chapter have instances of remotes of vehicles missing and they tell us it gets lost on transit but, we are collating lists of burgled vehicles to present to Grimaldi because this has to stop.”
When contacted, the Managing Director of PTML/Grimaldi shipping line, Ascanio Russo declined to comment. Text messages sent to him since over two weeks ago are yet to be replied.
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