Clearing agents lament huge demurrage caused by Apapa roads
Sequel to the Federal Government’s announcement on the complete closure of Apapa roads for repairs for one year, the clearing agents under the auspices of the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), have decried the huge demurrage accumulating on cargoes lying in the ports.
The National President, NCMDLCA, in a letter to the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, which was obtained by The Guardian, requested for some waivers on goods that are already held up in Apapa and Tin-Can ports in Lagos as a result of the bad roads.
The letter read in part: “There is urgent need for government to intervene and grant waiver on the goods that are held up in Lagos Ports, which is extremely difficult to access and exit the port.
“To access or exit the port take days, which resulted to high demurrage and rents, and the risk of carriage to drivers along the access roads is extremely dangerous, and has attracted multiple cost of transportation in Lagos Ports.
“The port access road constitutes a stumbling block to our International Maritime traffic, and it has limited trade facilitation process by constituting death threats to port operators, daily destruction of loaded goods from the ports and huge threat to lives and properties for smooth and uninterrupted operation of armed robbers.
“We hereby appeal to the federal government to urgently come to the aid of the port users, operators and the importing community who are daily exposed to the risk of falling containers on cars and persons, destruction of loaded goods.”
Noting that Lagos ports account for almost 75 to 80 per cent of cargo throughput in the country, Amiwero said the neglect is a serious setback to the nation. This is because the bad potholes, flooded Port access roads and the gridlock constitute almost 25 per cent of the cumbersome, lengthy procedure and port process, which accounts for associated delays and the highest port cost in the sub-region.
This, he said, has encouraged cargo diversion to other neighbouring countries’ ports, and placed Nigeria at the bottom of the ease of doing business.
“The port access road is a trade facilitation infrastructure, which is of national concern that lubricates the facilitation of trade on the ease of goods evacuations and loading. It needs government concerted effort to give the gateway to the nation’s economy a priority in the development of our ports in compliance with the National Facilitation Committee (FAL) Convention of International Maritime Organisation(IMO), in which Nigeria is a signatory,” he said.
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