By Godfrey Bivbere
The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has ordered the sealing up of Tin-can Island Container Terminal, TICT, following the failure of shipping companies using the terminal to provide holding bays for their empty containers.
This is even as some shipping companies as well as terminal operators are smiling to the banks daily by slamming demurrages charges on importers and their agents as traffic log-jam worsens across the Lagos port area.
Vanguard gathered that the entrance of TICT was yesterday barricaded by armed security personnel who prevented truckers from assessing the terminal.
Assistant General Manager, AGM, in charge of Corporate Communications, NPA, Isa Suwaid, told Vanguard on Monday that some shipping companies and terminal operators are not complying with its directive.
Suwaid said that the Authority was re-strategising on how to ensure full implementation, noting that some of the companies are still not complying.
Vanguard gathered that while port users are bearing the brunt of the traffic situation around the port area, shipping companies and terminal operators have continued to slam demurrages on port users for the delays in clearing their goods which was caused by both the traffic situation and the failures in the Customs processes.
An agent, Nicholas Uzodima, told Vanguard that his container was brought over a month ago with all the charges and duties paid, yet he could not take delivery of the consignment.
According to him, three days after the arrival of the consignment, the importer is expected to start paying N3,500 and after seven days; it graduates to N7,000 and then N10,000 after 14 days.
Uzodima wondered why people like him that have paid all their charges and duties; and have been cleared by Customs should be made to suffer for no fault of theirs.
Meanwhile, Terminal Manager of TICT who simply identified himself as Mr. Greg told Vanguard that they are not unaware of such situations and called on such importers and their agents to apply for waivers at the point of their goods exiting the ports, pledging that such requests would be granted.