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Stakeholders rue rising costs of exiting goods from Lagos Ports

Chinazor Megbolu   |

The cost of moving goods from Nigerian ports to other parts of the country has continued to rise on a daily basis.

The stakeholders like the manufacturers, operators of logistics as well as consumers are lamenting over the cost of goods and services, which prices have doubled in most cases.
Stakeholders linked the exorbitant cost of movement of goods at the ports to the high cost of goods in the country, especially imported vehicles and consumables.
The means of transporting containers and goods within and outside Lagos from the TinCan Island Port, in Apapa, Lagos is unbearable, the operators have said.
Importers and their agents now pay at least N1 million per truck for intra-city haulage while inter-state cargo movement costs N2 million and above ,depending on the location.
Mr. Chibuzor Emmanuel, a trucker, said: “The cost of transporting goods within Lagos State used to be between N400-600 but now, it’s up to N1 million.
“Transporting goods outside Lagos now is up to N2 – N3 million, depending on location. It used to be between N1.2 – N1.6 million”.
He, however, noted that the reasons behind the rise in the cost of goods transportation is as a result of gridlock and expenses incurred, while trying to enter Lagos port.
According to him “sometimes, we spend up to N240,000 as bribes to the law enforcement agents while trying to access Tin Can Island Port”.
On what the money is meant for, Emmanuel hinted most of it is used to settle some escorts going with them and security agents on there way back.
He added that most times, it takes a week to access the ports and three days to leave due to gridlock.
Going forward, some drivers also affirm that it takes a minimum of five days for a truck driver to gain access to the port or for someone to move a vehicle out of the port due to the gridlock and the slow security checks as another impediment, adding it could be up to 10 days to gain entrance into the port in some occasions.
The manufacturing companies have also lamented that production deadlines are disrupted due to delays in the movement of the goods, which most times lead to loss of revenue for manufacturers.
Recently, stakeholders in the maritime sector rose to the occasion to help decongest Apapa and TinCan Island Ports as a result of  hiccups being witnessed in the line of duty.
The stakeholders said their action is geared towards promoting ease of doing business at the nation’s ports.
A research carried out showed that the cost of clearing a 40ft container in Nigeria, must have deposit of N200,000 per container (within Lagos) and
N400,000 per container (outside Lagos).
Shipping firms charge, N170,000, a terminal charges N180,000, while punching is put at N10,000.
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) documentation costs N100,000, automatic demurrage is N100,000 and agent fees is N350,000, while duties is subject  to the amount generated on PAAR or on assessment.
Furthermore on 40ft container indicates that import duties is based on the HS code declared percentage (Comprehensive Inspection Supervision Scheme), which is one  per cent of the value declared.
Ports Surcharge is 7.5 per cent of the value declared,
ETLS – 0.5 of the value declared, VAT – 7.5 per cent.
On charges involved in clearing a 20ft container, there must be a deposit of N100,000 per container (within Lagos) N200,000 (outside Lagos).
Shipping company charges N100,000, terminal charges N100,000, punching costs N10,000
NCS documentation is N50,000.
Others are; the agent fees, which is N350,000, duties is subjected to the amount generated on PAAR or on assessment.
Import duties based on the HS code declared percentage on (Comprehensive Inspection Supervision Scheme).
The research, however showed that even if you have a 0 percent import duty for your goods,  you will still need to pay other charges as enumerated above.
In a phone interview with a Chieftain of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Anthony Anakebe, he described the situation as a very serious problem that needs to be tackled.
According to him; “I used N1.1 million to transport goods of one by 40ft from Second Gate to Mushin, Lagos. I’m telling you, it’s a serious problem.
“It has been a very tedious period for us and becoming more and more harder because there’s congestion in the ports, especially TinCan Island in particular.
“We’re not seeing the roads being opened between now and January 2021.
“The movement of trucks in TinCan Island axis is a no go area because the security agents are making a hell of money from trucks drivers.
“The Presidential Task Force, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) security agents and even the military.
“That axis needs serious intervention by the federal government or any government.
“Even the Lagos State government cannot manage what is going on there now”.
Another ANLCA top notch, Mr. Joe Sanni in a chat said goods go to where they can quickly find buyers, whatever may be the challenges.
According to him; “so, whatever may be the challenges, infrastructures, funds, etc, they will surely find their way to where there are buyers, no matter the costs, which is eventually transfered to the consumers”.
Again, he pointed out that lack of rail, roads, water transportation is another challenge facing transportation of goods in Nigeria, saying it needs a 24/7 work in progress attention.
“It being said of recent that a 1 X 20ft  container transported between TinCan and Apapa cost about N1.5 million now. Who do you think is going to bear the cost? Surely, it’s the consumers,” Sanni said.
A former member, CRFFN’s Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum, Mr. Anthony Opara, in an interview, listed the major cost implications of transporting goods from the ports, especially from the Lagos ports across Nigeria, which include bad roads, criminality and incessant harassments by security agents.
“The roads in Lagos and across Nigeria are all so bad that road haulage is now a nightmare. A journey of few hours would now take days to be made.
“The other problem is criminality. The inability of the authorities in Nigeria to put adequate security measures in place to ensure safety of lives and properties have emboldened criminals, who now operate on the highways without let or hindrance.
“Facilitators of movements of goods across Nigeria cannot guarantee the safe arrival of such goods and personnel.
“The last but not the least cost implication is the incessant harassments by security agencies on the highways. They stop and extort monies from those moving goods within Lagos and across Nigeria for flimsy reasons.
“On a journey, on a road of less than 100 kilometers,  road users encounter tens of “Checkpoints” manned by military and paramilitary agencies personnel, who insist on being “settled”(given money) before the goods are allowed to pass such “checkpoints”, the genuineness of the goods in transit notwithstanding,” he said.
The Federal Government and other concerned authorities need to assist decongest the roads even though efforts in the past of doing so by the different Task Forces didn’t yield desired results. Time to act is now!

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