Stakeholders blame NESREA, SON for negligence over regulation of expired containers

 

Segun Oladipupo       |         

The continued use of expired containers for importation of goods into Nigeria by shipping lines has been described as “hazardous” to human lives and properties if not quickly curbed.

The operators called on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) under whose purview the regulation of containers fall to sanitise the ports environment and Nigerian roads.
An average container has a life span of fifteen to twenty years.

But in Nigeria, containers older than twenty five years are still being used to import goods into the country and most often, they are never returned to their countries of origin thereby littering the country with expired boxes.

Investigations have revealed that in every ten container sighted along the highways, seven have expired.

According to them, there is the need for the government to sanction shipping companies that export expired boxes in the country adding that stringent measures must be taken to curb the menace associated with hazardous items

Maritime lawyer, Barrister Emmanuel Nwagbara raised concern in a chat with our correspondent at the weekend , lamenting that lack of effective and efficient monitoring and enforcement by the regulatory bodies led Nigeria into the mess.

The foremost maritime lawyer lamented that the deliberate attempt by shipping lines to flood the country with expired boxes, are clear indications that the boxes could not be exported to other country..

According to him, a good number of boxes imported into the country have expired hence the need for the regulation to commence clampdown on them.

He also called on the concerned regulatory agencies to establish recycle centres where such boxes could be destroyed and reproduced.

Worried about the ignorance displayed on the part of the agencies, the lawyer maintained that shipping companies are taking the advantage of lacklustre attitude of government to endanger the lives and properties of people and environment.

They stakeholders quipped that the country should set up a recycling plant to recycle the expired boxes for use again.

“We have a lot of deficiency in the area of container monitoring in this country and there is need for government to provide empty container yard where expired boxes are kept for recycling.

He lamented that gridlock along the corridors can be attributed to vehicles returning the empties to the ports adding that shipping companies have allegedly frustrated the acquisition of holding bays.

“Beyond the issue of space to dump the containers; it appears there is a deliberate attempt by shipping companies not to allow the containers get back to the ports as at when due because some of these containers have expired.

“It is the responsibility of SON to ensure that the life span of containers should not exceed maximum of fifteen years such that if there are containers that have expired but are still in use , then the shipping companies must be sanctioned.

“Therefore we are advocating that SON should look into this critically and sanction any shipping lines that bring in such contains into the country .

“I think there is another agency which is NESREA to ensure that containers are imported into the country meet some certain requirements.

“We are also recommending that from now , any container imported into the country must be certified fit for usage”.

Chairman, Tin Can Island Chapter, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (AREFFN), Comrade Jude Ige called on the government to sanction carriers using such boxes for import into the country.

Ige lamented some of the containers have gone under series of welding processes, saying it is dangerous to use them for specialised commodities.

The AREFFN Chairman maintained that Nigerian ports are havens of expired boxes due to negligence on the part of regulatory agencies’ knowledge on how to tackle the menace.

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