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Foreign shipping firms sabotage inland ports —Customs agents

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By Eguono Odjegba

The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Hon. Tony Nwabunike, has accused foreign shipping companies operating in the country of frustrating optimal performances of Inland Dry Ports, IDPs.

Part of the problems, according to him, was the inability of the companies to compute the cost of container haulage between Lagos and Kaduna, IDP but they could easily do that for Indo-China and Europe to Nigeria.

File Photo: Senior Customs officers

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His words, “Kaduna Dry Port is a full fledge port, a port of final destination of goods coming into the country or of export going out. I think that activities there is not much because the foreign shipping companies have not been supportive.

“Now Nigeria is not doing enough export so we have not been able to get enough patronage as expected. Import, which is supposed to attract patronage, is not forthcoming because shipping companies are not giving the importers the true bill of lading for their consignments designated to the IDPs.

“A 20ft container from China to Nigeria costs as high as $ 3,600, now these shipping companies provide you with these charges almost instantly. But when it comes to trans-shipment to inland dry ports, they play games. Remember that delivery is not completed until the containers arrive the port of final destination, which is Kaduna.

“I think the Nigerian Shippers’ Council should dialogue with the shipping companies and logistics service providers on harmonized charges for containers to Kaduna Dry Port. I believe strongly that Nigerian Shipper’s Council will streamline this business for it to flourish and get the deserved patronage. “Supposing the dry port, for example, belongs to Maerskline, do you know that consignments will be moving freely to the port without hitches? And that will tell you that it is sabotage.

“Don’t forget also that in Kano, Maerskline has a bonded terminal that is APM Terminal and they will not charge you until your consignment gets to the terminal.”

The Kaduna IDP which was commissioned on January 4, 2019, reportedly has the projected capacity to generate over 5,000 direct employments.

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