Funso Olojo |
The terminal operators who have been battling with the deluge of abandoned cargoes that have taken over their terminals have reluctantly agreed to the plea of the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) to grant concession to their owners in other to free the ports and stave off the looming congestion .
Worried by the worsening situation of about 1700 overtime cargo that were abandoned by their owners at the ports due to high demmurage, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Unman has called on the terminal operators to consider the option of slashing the cost of demmurage on these cargoes to lure their owners to take them out of the ports.
At a stakeholders meeting convened yesterday by the NPA with the terminal operators, shipping companies and the Nigeria Customs Service at the Lagos Ports Complex, Hadiza expressed worries over the situation which she lamented may rub the ports of benefiting from the expected upsurge in cargo throughput that results from the border closure.
Expressing similar sentiments, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, asked the operators to bend backward by granting concession to free their facilities for more space.
It was gathered that four terminals were mainly affected by the issue of overtime cargoes which include APMT which has the largest chunk of the abandoned boxes of 1259, and PTML which has 1023 abandoned vehicles.
While Ports and Cargo and Five Star Logistics shared the rest.
Usman declared that the NPA could no longer bear the cost of evacuation of these overtime cargo to their designated terminal at Ikorodu Lighter Terminal, hence the need to fashion out measures that will attract their owners to exit the boxes.
All the affected terminal owners, who had hitherto maintained a hardline posture on the issue, reluctantly agreed to slash the demurrage which these cargoes have accumulated.
The PTML, which lamented that these containers have been abandoned in their terminal between 90 days to 400 days, offered to even publish the affected containers and the concessions granted.
The parties however resolved to form a tripartite committee which shall comprise the NPA, the Customs and the terminal operators to fashion out the modalities that will quickly lead to the resolution of the problem.
The NPA MD and CGC asked the terminal operators to furnish them with the details of the concession arrangements in order to expedite action on the exit of the containers.
It was resolved that in order to save government the huge cost of evacuating them to Ikorodu, those that are still left after the concession are granted will be auctioned on the spot.
However, the CGC declared that the terminal operators should liase with the Customs Area Controllers in their area of operations to determine any abandoned cargo that have not exited customs control.
He stated that while those which have not exited customs control will be transferred to Ikorodu, those that have nothing to do with Customs but still not taken by their owners after the concession will be auctioned on the spot.
Concerning abandoned vehicles, while those that have become scrap will be auctioned on the spot, the good ones will be auctioned on the Customs automated auction platform.
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