by Victor Ahiuma-Young
ORGANISED Private Sector, OPS, has expressed concern at the adverse effect of the national menace of port congestion and perpetual blockade of roads leading to the Apapa Ports on businesses in Nigeria.
Speaking through the Director General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, in a statement , lamented the colossal loss incurred by companies involved in the importation of sensitive raw materials and finished products, including pharmaceuticals materials.
According to him, “clearing these goods from the ports has become a herculean task. Where these goods and raw materials are finally retrieved, they may have to be destroyed due to quality challenges related to temperature issues, having overstayed beyond safe period in the ports”.
Mr Oshinowo explained further that “to compound the already bad situation, there is the heavy demurrage that is being incurred as a result of the congestion and delays, which is neither the fault of the companies nor within their control.
He noted that demurrage on 20 feet and 40 feet containers are N60, 000 and N90, 000 per day respectively. Where the container stays from June and only released in mid-August, it would have accrued a demurrage of N6.84m in one 40 ft container alone. This is apart from the increased freight costs from transporters due to the significant down time of haulage trucks caused by the congestion”.
According to him, “this accounts for the rising cases of abandoned containers and imports at the ports”.
While commending the on-going efforts by Government to clear the Apapa ports of congestions, NECA urged that urgent steps be taken to stem the dire economic hardships that companies are going through in using the ports.
Mr. Oshinowo called on the Federal Government to direct the Customs Service to exercise 100% waiver of the massive demurrage incurred by Companies due to the congestion and delays. This according to him will put action to Government’s avowed commitment to improving ease of doing business in the country.