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Cargo volume rises in ports amid border closure

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[FILES] Port Complex,. Photo: PIXABAY

Nigeria seaports have begun to enjoy the benefits of border closure as cargo volume has increased tremendously at the terminals.

A major terminal operator, at the Lagos Port Complex, APM Terminals confirmed to The Guardian yesterday, that: “We have recently experienced a substantial increase in the volume of containers arriving through the seaports,”

The firm attributed the positive development to various positive government policies such as improvement in the implementation of Ease of Doing Business policy, the Agriculture Promotion Policy, and closure of land borders to curtail smuggling activities amongst others.

However, it noted that if these containers are not cleared by customers soon enough, this volume increase could lead to high yard density, which could impact the berthing of vessels resulting in vessel queues.

Recall that the Lagos ports- TinCan Island and Apapa Ports have recently been experiencing congestion occasioned by dilapidated port access roads.

The terminal operator noted that they are “anticipating further improvement in throughput ahead of Christmas and year-end”, which may further worsen the situation.

He, therefore, urged all the relevant stakeholders and the wider port community to ensure timely delivery of containers in an effective manner without compromising the government’s policies and procedures.

“The terminal is willing to offer a discount for longstanding containers commensurate with dwell time, and therefore urge customers with containers in this category to take advantage of the offer and take delivery of their containers.

“We commend the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for operating the Lilypond Transit Truck park and the Presidential Task Team on decongesting Apapa access roads for their effective implementation of the call-up system and traffic management system respectively.

“As for the terminal, we assure the shipping lines and our landside customers, that we are dedicating adequate resources despite the seasonal bad weather, working closely with the Port Authority, other relevant agencies and stakeholders for improved terminal performance to ensure prompt cargo delivery after release by the Nigeria Customs Service,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Increase Uche, had told to The Guardian, that with the border closure, adequate plans must be made for an efficient port system to avoid the looming congestion.

He said: “The unfortunate aspect of the closure is that importers that earlier planned for their goods to arrive neighbouring ports will now have to re-route them to Nigerian ports, prompting the question of our capability to cope with the increased volume, considering the congestion already witnessed in the ports.

“There are strong indications that the massive routing of cargoes will compound the congestion in the ports. So, in the next one month or thereabouts, the congestion in the ports will increase and that is a very bad omen,” he said.

Uche said the government needs to do something fast, stressing that, “now that borders are closed, the seaports, which are also entry points, should be made efficient. They should ensure that businesses in the ports are not hindered in any way.


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