By Samson Echenim
PORTS & Terminal Multiservices Limited, PTML, one of the terminals operating in the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos has said its terminals are open to licensed customs agents who have genuine jobs to do.
The port concessionaire was reacting to an allegation by the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, that access to its terminals is restricted to freight forwarders, hence, retarding the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business initiative.
NAGAFF founder, Dr Boniface Aniebonam had recently, told journalists that restriction of access by PTML for freight forwarders, insisting that as the port landlord, only the Nigerian Ports Authority reserves the right to check access to the ports.
In his response, the Managing Director of PTML, Mr Ascanio Russo said in line with the government policy on ease of doing business, PTML designated an area of the terminal as the “Single Interface Station” for the harmonised coordination and operations of cargo clearance by all approved government agencies.
“The issue of access control is done in compliance with statutory regulations of the NPA and Nigeria Customs Service’s CEMA laws which define the Custom’s licensing and regulation of clearing agents/freight forwarders, whose professional activities, though port related are not limited to the port environment by way of emphasis that, only licensed Customs agents with genuine jobs are to be allowed into the port at any given time,” said Russo in an email to Vanguard, through the terminal’s General Manager, Mr Tunde Keshiro.
He further clarified that “issuance of PTML access cards is therefore premised on authorisation and licensing of a corporate organisation and its accredited representatives as Customs agents/brokers defined at the Customs port command level by a valid NCS form C30.”
He indicated issues relating to port accessibility had been addressed in a letter ref: T4604/S.2/T3/491 dated 20/10/2016 issued by Minister of Transport to NAGAFF, which was also well circulated by NAGAFF wherein these elements were defined.