Port congestion worsens as customs halts barge operations

A vessel at berth

• Waiting time at Lagos ports exceeds one month
• Clearing brokers to protest towards coverage

There are indications that vessel congestions will worsen on the Lagos seaports, because the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) positioned ban on the utilization of barges to convey containers out and in of the ports.

The adoption barges as evacuation mannequin was earlier launched by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to be able to scale back congestion on the ports.

Since the introduction barges for the evacuation of cargoes, there was non permanent reduction on the port entry roads and discount within the variety of days spent by stranded vessels on the anchorage.

Already, transport companies are fearful that the ready interval in Lagos anchorage now exceeds one month.

Hapag-Lloyd, in its advisory be aware sighted by The Guardian, famous that
Vessels calling at Lagos ports have continued to endure extraordinary delays as ready instances at APM Terminals’ Apapa and Bollore Ports’ Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT) proceed to exceed 30 and 20 days, respectively.

The German transport provider has due to this fact introduced the addition of two ships to its MWX service to be able to scale back the detrimental results.

“Now, Hapag-Lloyd is deploying a total of seven container vessels to the region,” it said.

The Hamburg-based firm stated that it often evaluates the Apapa name on its MIAX service. In case of omission, cargo is discharged at TICT from the place cargo is barged to KCT and customs clearance of Apapa cargo is dealt with there.

This scenario might worsen in days to return, because the NCS in a round signed by the Deputy Comptroller General, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, DCG A. Chidi, alleged that some importers and brokers have been benefiting from barge evacuation to divert containers to unlawful warehouses.

The round with quantity NCF/ENF/ABJ/058/S.23 dated 12th of March 2020 has been transmitted to all space instructions, all heads of unit, sector drill commanders, federal operations models and the CGC strike power for speedy motion.

The round reads partially: “The CGC is in receipt of intelligence that using barges to evacuate containers out and in of our ports is being abused to the extent that containers are being diverted to unlawful warehouses.

“Consequently, I am directed to inform you that the use of barges to evacuate containers should stop with immediate effect.”

However, trade operators have bemoaned the choice by the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali to droop barge operations, noting that such coverage would escalate the lingering congestion challenges in Lagos ports.

The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) described the ban as “a trade frustrating and wicked policy”.

ANLCA, in an announcement signed by its President, Tony Nwabunike referred to as on the Customs boss to handle the matter via session and dialogue with stakeholders quite than a blanket ban.

Nwabunike stated the directive banning using barges to evacuate containers will impede efforts of different authorities companies just like the NPA and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in discover lasting answer to the simple motion of products via the waterways and to avoid wasting the roads that are already in deplorable situation.

“More shocking is the truth that the Customs CG preaching commerce facilitation and ease of doing enterprise, shouldn’t be the one taking hasty selections that won’t solely irritate the present struggling of stakeholders, but additionally impede on efforts of different authorities companies just like the NPA, NIWA and so forth find a long-lasting answer to straightforward motion of products via the waterways and to avoid wasting our roads that are already in horrible deplorable state.

“We in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) are strongly opposed to this position and call on the Customs boss to address the matter through consultations and dialogue with all stakeholders in the industry,” he said.

“On our half, a excessive powered staff from ANLCA will go to the Zonal Coordinator of Zone, ‘A’ of the NCS to register our protest and displeasure on this depraved coverage. Also, the ANLCA management will dispatch a letter to the Customs CG to hunt the reversal of this commerce irritating coverage.

“We want to also assure the Customs leadership that ANLCA as a group of Customs Brokers will do everything possible to see to friendly trade policies that will attract investors to our ports,” he said.

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