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NAGAFF exposes inefficiencies of bonded terminals

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— accuses them of lack of capacity to operate.

By Our reporter

The National Co-ordinator of the 100 percent compliance team of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, has raised an alarm over the continued inefficiency and deteriorating services  of bonded terminals in the country.

Tanko, who was speaking to journalists in his Lagos office, lamented that the unmitigated shoddy services of these facilities, have been source of concerns to the NAGAFF team which has consistently complained of their laxities that have been haunting the freight forwarders.

Tanko, who doubles as the Vice- President  Western Zone of NAGAFF, claimed that about 60 percent of the bonded terminals in the country lack the required capacity to deliver quality and efficient services as they do not have the requisite equipment and space.

“Most of the bonded terminal operators in Nigeria do not have the capacity to even own a terminal in the first place”

“The required capacity is that you need to get a minimum of four forklifts of different sizes, the one that can pick twenty foot containers, and forty foot containers.

“You need a large expanse of land that can contain at least 20,000 containers
Most of the bonded terminals don’t have these”

But according to him, most of them lack these facilities which he said has hampered their operations and service delivery.

Tanko wondered how most of these mushroom bonded terminals were able meet the Customs requirements to secure their operating licenses,  given the parlous state of the infrastructural facilities of most of the bonded terminals.

He however advocated for outright revocation of the licenses of the terminal operators who failed to meet up with the required standard.

“It is the job of the Nigerian Shippers Council to regulate the bonded terminal operators, while it is the duty of Nigeria Customs Service to license them”

“Before you own a bonded terminal, Customs are expected to go and examine the location and then give you approval.

“But because of corruption, after they have been told to inspect the facility,  the officers would okay it, meanwhile it is not up to required standard.

Tanko therefore enjoined the regulatory agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Shippers’Council, to live up to their statutory duties by properly monitoring the operations of these bonded terminals and sanction the erring ones.

“We are appealing to Customs to try and assist us; anybody who has licence to own a bonded terminal but does not have what it takes to operate a bonded terminal, please they should revoke the license, because we are the people that suffer.

“About 60% of the bonded terminals we have visited, none of them have the capacity to own a bonded terminal. We see some bonded terminals without forklift, how do u operate a terminal without forklift?

“So, they go outside to hire a forklift. In some bonded terminals, during the raining season, we cannot examine our cargo, because everywhere is flooded.

“We have been complaining, writing petitions to Customs  Area Controllers, but we are still suffering, paying demurrage, shipping charges, terminal charges.

“We want the Customs to set up a committe, that will visit and investigate these terminals and see by themselves. Nobody can open a bonded terminal without licence. But, then, what is the criteria for opening a bonded terminal, we need to find out”, Alhaji Tanko declared.

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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