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Truck queues may return to Apapa ports

*As concessionaire threatens to withdraw scanning logistics

BY UDEME CLEMENT

Long truck queues may resurface at the scanning sites in Apapa ports as the management of APM Terminals Apapa Limited, the concessionaire handling Apapa terminals, has threatened to withdraw scanning logistics at the ports, stressing that it may be forced to review the voluntary logistics support it is providing to port users in getting their containers scanned.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that APM Terminals had a written agreement with the service provider on the number of containers to scan daily depending on their capacity.

When contacted, the Media Adviser to the company, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, explained that APM Terminals was not responsible for scanning of containers at the ports or for any delay associated with scanning.  He said, “Scanning is the responsibility of Cotecna and Customs. APM Terminals only intervened by taking over the logistics to bring about efficiency in the system. We voluntarily took over the duty of providing logistics because the previous arrangement was not working well. Less than 60 containers were scanned per day and trucks were forced to wait for up to three days to complete the scanning process.”

He went on, “When we intervened, we had a written agreement with the service provider that not more than 200 containers per day could be scanned, partly due to the capacity of the single fixed scanner and also due to the fact that there is no pre-advice given by Customs.  We are not responsible for providing the scanner or for operating it. It just happens that it is erected on our facility contrary to what obtains at Tin Can Island Port where the scanner is located outside the main port terminal. Since our intervention commenced, we have received several commendation as the waiting time for trucks was eliminated saving those who hire the trucks about N30,000 per day (or N90,000 for the three days).”

He continued, “This is despite several constraints including the fact that Customs does not advise us on the containers that need to be positioned in advance. We must wait until the customers/importers are advised individually by Customs as to whether or not their container needs to be scanned. If APM Terminals is forced to hands off the scanning logistics, truck queues are bound to return to the scanning site. There is the need to honour the agreement of sticking to scheduling not more than 200 containers a day for scanning so as not to jeopardise the help APM Terminals is providing to importers in getting their boxes scanned.”


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