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VIN: Importers Incure over N180m storage charges at Lagos Ports

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Abiola Seun

With over 1800 vehicles cleared out of the Ports and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) and Five Star Logistics Terminal, Tin-Can Island daily, vehicle importers will pay over N180million as storage charges on 6000 vehicles trapped due to the  withdrawal of services by clearing agents at the Lagos Seaports.

Recall that following the withdrawal of services by clearing agents last week Monday over the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy recently introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on imported vehicles, over 6000 vehicles have been trapped at the two Roll On Roll Off (RORO) terminal at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The introduction of VIN valuation, according to clearing agents, has jerked up the value being issued on imported vehicles by almost 300 per cent,

However,  investigation showed that with the strike action, vehicles importers have accrued huge storage charges as vehicles could not be cleared out of the two RORO terminals at the Lagos ports.

It was gathered that terminal operators charge storage three days from the date the vessel berthed at the port to discharge vehicles.

Vehicle importers have, however, disclosed that RORO terminals, PTML and Five Star Logistics charge N5,000 on each vehicle for the first five days it stayed in the terminal while N10,000 is charged daily for vehicles that stayed between six to ten days and N15,000 charged daily for vehicles between 11 to 15 days.

This is even as four vessels with over 8,000 vehicles berthed at the two ports between Wednesday and Monday, last week.

Shipping position data obtained from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), four vessels, Paglia, Grande Sierra Leone, Grande Cotonou, and Grande Cameroon, came with the Grimaldi shipping line to berth at the PTML between February 24th and 28th.

It was gathered that PTML has over 10,000 unit of vehicles while Five Star Logistics Terminal has capacity to receive over 5000 units of vehicles.

This, however, caused fear among the terminal operators who said congestion will soon hit their terminals if the strike action was not called off.

The General Manager, PTML, Tunde Keshinro, said the terminal was battling to create vehicle slots for incoming ships.

“The strike has affected delivery  and once delivery is affected, the terminal is unable to deliver discharged vehicles and when you are unable to discharge vehicles in the terminal, then vessels arriving will not be able to discharge and the terminal will get congested”.

Keshinro, who appealed to the Customs, and clearing agents to sheath their sword, said his terminal has capacity to handle over 10,000 unit of vehicles.

He, however, said that the terminal is not considering granting waivers to importers and clearing agents because they are not responsible for the strike action.

“We are engaging Customs, and clearing agents and we will also appeal to them to consider the overall interests of the trade and find a way to reach agreement. We are appealing to them to find amicable way of resolving the issue.”

On granting waiver to clearing agents and importers, on the trapped vehicles, he said, “The issue of waiver is not at the final position becaue it’s a continuous process because the issue is not directly in the hand of the terminal and neither are we responsible so, the terminal is open to its options and no final position taken yet.

Also speaking, the Customer Care Manager, Five Star Logistics Terminal, Tin-Can Island port, Chuks Okereafor, said the terminal was almost filled up as well.

He, however, noted that the saving grace for the terminal was that it is not expecting any vessel until the first week of March, 2022.

“As far as am concerned, no tangible operation is going on at the RORO side of the terminal and because cargoes cannot leave the terminal, there will be congestion but, we are lucky that our RORO vessels are coming in the first week of March definitely, it will affect us as there will be congestion in the port.

“For RORO service, the capacity is a little bit above 5000 unit but, expect the Customs and clearing agents to resolve the issue as quickly as possible

“The Federal Government should intervene by looking into the issue to see a way of resolving it because the service withdrawal that started since Monday , last week, affected PTML and Five Star Logistics Terminal,” he said.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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