Abiola Seun |
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman has assured stakeholders at the Rivers and Onne ports of procuring ballistic vessels to secure the channels and anchorage against attacks.
This was even as she called on the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to begin on the spot auctioning of overtime cargoes abandoned at Onne seaports by clearing agents.
The West African Container Terminal (WACT) had complained to NPA that their terminal is filled up with over 1500 containers examined and not cleared out of the terminal with overtime cargoes taken over 80 percent of the terminal space with 90 percent berth occupancy.
But, speaking at the quarterly stakeholders’ meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday, the NPA boss said their is need to free up the Onne port especially WACT which she said has been overtaken by cargoes abandoned by clearing agents.
She also disclosed that stakeholders have highlighted the challenges faced at the Onne and Rivers ports while the Authority is taking it up to ensure that the ports are competitive, have the required turn around time of vessels, infrastructure and machinery for evacuation of cargoes.
Usman however disclosed that the authority is working assiduously with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy to secure the eastern ports channels and vessels at Berths from attacks.
She said, “We are working with NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy to ensure that the waterways are secured but also we are also procuring ballistic patrol vessels to provide them with support which upon procurement we will handover to these agencies of government so that they can enhance security especially the security in the channels and at berths this is of paramount importance to us.”
The MD on overtime containers at the WACT, terminal by freight forwarded, said there must be a proactive decision to free up the terminal in order to increase the turn around time of vessels at the terminal.
“We have noted that a lot of containers have been abandoned by consignees at Onne port. The WACT terminal is overflowing with containers because consignees have abandoned their containers because they don’t want their containers to be subjected to 100 percent examination by Customs.
“We as agencies of government are always inundated by reports that our ports are not efficient now we have a situation whereby owners and consignees are abandoning their cargoes because they don’t want their cargoes to be subjected to the law, they don’t want it to be inspected for them to pay the necessary duties.
“We are discussing with the Nigeria Customs on what we need to do to auction some of these cargoes because as a responsible consignee, you can’t come into this country and abandon your consignment ,this is an indication that declaration made by lot of consignees are not correct that is why they are afraid of 100 percent percent examination enforced by the Customs service across the country.”
She however threatened that if clearing agents refused to clears their cargoes, it will be auctioned to free up space.
“We will ensure that all these cargoes are auctioned if people do not come to pick up their consignment and pay the government the necessary duties attributed to such cargoes.
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