By Godfrey Bivbere
Despite payment of N226 million duty on its N800 million worth of iron rod consignment by B/ Bird Capital with loan facility, the goods are still trapped at the Josephdon terminal in Tin_can Island port for over four weeks after obtaining all relevant clearing documents.
The slow pace of cargo delivery at the terminal, Vanguard gathered, was as a result of the lack of cargo handling equipment which makes it difficult for importers and their agents to take delivery of the goods.
Speaking with Vanguard on the issue, a representative of B/Bird Capital, Mr. Emmanuel Elemamba, alleged that the service of the terminal is one of the worst amongst all the private terminal operators.
Elemamba noted that not only are most of their forklifts not working, the only two available most times run out of diesel and owners of consignments are made to buy so as to take delivery of their goods.
He further alleged that the only two operational forklifts are rotated at 15 minutes interval at the terminal to service the various consignees waiting to take delivery of their goods. He pointed out that the delay witnessed at the terminal may be a deliberate ploy of the management to collect extra rent from consignees for staying.
He alleged that his company is presently losing millions of naira in rents and other levies paid for the delay.
This claim was buttressed by Mr Oluwole Ayodele Onasanya, Managing Director of Lateju Ventures Limited, agents to B/Bird Capital. Onasanya told Vanguard that the service delivery at the terminal is â€œepilepticâ€ and that they do â€œnot show any sign of commitment to service delivery.â€
He alleged that his company had to purchase diesel one weekend when the four drums which the management bought for operation that day was exhausted.
However, Traffic Manager of Josephdon, Mr. Oluseye Oshunpidan, told Vanguard that it is usual for agents to complain like that because must of their boys who come to the terminal behave like touts.
He said contrary to accusation that they do not have cargo handling equip-ment, they have 20 which is far above what they are expected to have according to the concession agreement. The traffic manager explained that though there are about eight which have punctured tyres because of the kind of consignments they are lifting, about 12 are still operational.
When our correspondent went round the terminal, four forklifts were seen loading consignments while 11 others were parked awaiting repairs. Vanguard also met a hot argument between officials of the terminal and Franic Agencies over the use of a lower ton equipment in the lifting of sensitive electrical equipment imported from China,belonging to Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. Other agents who spoke with Vanguard also complainedÂ that the terminal lacked operational cargo handling equipment.