By Godwin Oritse
Foreign shipping companies operating in Nigeria have been accused of contravening federal government’s directive on holding bays for their empty containers, six years after a fresh ultimatum was issued by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to that effect.
Speaking at the NPA’s quarterly stakeholders meeting in Lagos, Mr Segun Oduntan, Chairman, Tin-Can Island Chapter of the Association of Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, said foreign shipping lines are taking advantage of the uncoordinated port system in Nigeria to defraud the nation by deliberately refusing to have holding bays for their empty containers. He stated that despite letters written by NPA, the shipping firms have, however, bluntly refused to yield to the call, adding that they have succeeded in forming a cabal against the port authorities.
Oduntan, therefore, warned the management of NPA not to allow itself to be subdued by the cabal.
Speaking in the same vein, an officer of the Nigerian Navy in charge of traffic management at the port access roads, Commodore Okon Eyo, stated: “Almost seven years after, no shipping firm has constructed holding bay for this purpose. If the issue of holding bays for empty containers is not resolved, the traffic situation in the port area will linger for a long time.”
Also lending her voice, Hadeza Bala Usman, Managing Director, NPA, who was represented by Mr. Sekonte Davis, Executive Director in charge of Marine and Operations at NPA, said that shipping companies are not meeting up with the agency’s speed of operations.
“We are giving them time to develop but their rate of development is not at a pace we anticipate. After much engagement, they have to do what is needful and I believe that will spur them to take the necessary action. We don’t want to give ultimatum but we want to give them opportunity to do it, we will quicken them in that regard,” Usman said.