By Godfrey Bivbere
INSPITE of worsening turn-around time for cargo releases at the sea port terminals, freight forwarders have indicated that multiple charges have now constituted one of the major causes of the increasing delays in services deliveries by terminal operators.
Speaking with Vanguard Maritime Report, National President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Increase Uche, said the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, presently collects four different charges from the terminal operators which they, in turn, pass on to port users.
Uche listed the charges as throughput charges, liaise agreement fees, rents, and concession agreement charges.
He further explained that terminal operators, in response, deliberately delay consignments at their facility to ensure that they collect as much as possible in charges to meet their financial obligations to NPA.
The NAGAFF boss also explained that most of the terminal operators do not have adequate cargo handling equipment to function effectively, thereby deploying the same equipment for discharging of vessels and loading of cargoes for delivery.
In his words, “There are four different charges now that NPA collects from terminal operators. From throughput, to rent charges, to liaise rental and concession agreement. Those charges will be transferred by the terminal operators, to the cargo; the terminal operators will not let go because they are yet to recoup their money on such containers. We are calling on the government to review all these charges because they are corrupting the system.”
On cargo handling equipment, the NAGAFF president said: “All of them are having cargo handling equipment shortage apart from Grimaldi which is a greenfield facility. It is wrong to use the port as storage point; cargo should not spend more than three to four days at worst.”
Reminded that terminal operators have always accused importers and their agents of using the port for storage, he said: “It is a complete lie because they themselves lack modern cargo handling equipment and they do not deploy modern port operations. Once the cargo hits the maximum cargo dwell time, they need to move them to either the government warehouse or an approved Inland Container Depot, ICD, or any of these off-dock terminals,” he said.