By GODFREY BIVBERE
Management of the Tin-can Island Container Terminal, TCIT, and agents are trading blames as to the reason for the present congestion being witnessed at the scanning site at Tin-can Island port.
While the TCIT management is accusing the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, for the congestion at that port, agents under the aegis of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA have put the blame at the door step of TCIT.
In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, Ludovi Johan, Operations Manager of TCIT, said that the problem of congestion during and after scanning of containers at the terminal is not theirs but that of the NPA.
Johan noted that the scanning space is outside his company’s jurisdiction, but, however, noted that there was no problem with scanning at the terminal as about a 100 containers are being scanned daily.
On whether there is the possibility of working together with the NPA and Cotecna to clear the congestion from the area, Johan said, “Is it not their responsibility,” even when Vanguard suggested that a smoother scanning operation will better his company’s overall transactions.
However, National Secretary of NCMDLCA, Uchu Block, has frowned at the delay that importers and their agents had to face in the cause of clearing their consignments from the port after scanning.
Block explained that when a container is loaded at about 9 – 10 am for scanning which takes about three to five minutes, it spends some two to three days, attracting additional expenses for the importer and his agent for truck hiring.
He pointed out that transporter usually charge more especially at Tin-can port because of the delay. As a result of the general traffic in Apapa and the port access road, truck drivers now charge N80,000 to move a 40 feet container from Tin-can to Ijesha, he said.
The NCMDLCA scribe noted that with the delay of a day or two, the importer and his agent have to pay N160,000 or N240,000 as the case maybe. He further explained that the situation makes importers and their agents opt for re-routing of their consignments to off-dock terminals after paying the mandatory fee of N20,000.
Efforts to reach the General Manager in charge of Public Affairs at the NPA, Chief Michael Ajayi, to get the Authority’s comment proved abortive as he did not pick up his call after several attempts to get him on phone.