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Maersk Line kicks against NPA suspension

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Container vessel on the high sea

Maersk Nigeria Limited has decried its suspension by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), over a purported lack of holding bay for empty containers, describing the action as “misguiding”.

NPA had on Friday suspended the shipping services of Maersk Line, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal shipping companies for 10 days for allegedly not having functional holding bays for their empty containers.

But in an advisory issued by Maersk on Monday, the company said it has four functional holding bays in Lagos, with a storage capacity of 8,150 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

“It is misguiding for NPA to suspend Maersk Nigeria Limited for failing to acquire and operate holding bays for empty containers, as Maersk Nigeria Limited operates four holding bays within the Lagos environ with a storage capacity of 8,150 TEUs which is more than 50 per cent of the discharge average.

Maersk Nigeria Limited has complied fully with this directive, and has followed the Call-Up protocol for use of the holding bays stipulated by NPA.

“Nigeria as an import dependent nation will certainly see imported containers discharged in the country in volumes and in line with the tenet of international trade.

With limited infrastructure and other alternatives for evacuation of imports, return of empties, and return of full exports, it is challenging for these containers to be adequately handled, which results in the congestion of the access roads,” the company said.

Maersk also disclosed that it was in dialogue and consultation with relevant authorities, and “we expect the steps we are taking together with Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), will reassure them of our storage capacity”.

It added, “As an active and abiding corporate organisation, Maersk Nigeria Limited will continue to work in full cooperation with all relevant authorities in Nigeria and to offer sustainable services and operations to its valued customers.”

A Spokesman for NPA in a statement by Isah Suwaid, said: “The suspension, follows the Authority’s checks, which revealed that the four companies have failed to fully comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays as they have either failed to utilise their holding bays at all or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with.

“Some of these companies have also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.

“These conducts have contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Port, spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis. ”


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