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NPA threatens to sanction erring terminals

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has started sanctioning erring bonded terminals, which engage in container stripping.

The NPA, in a memo to stakeholders, said: “Effective, Wednesday, November 25, 2020, the Authority will sanction bonded terminals engaged in container stripping.

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“The Authority has been inundated with complaints from custom agents about these unacceptable actions, which contribute to the traffic gridlock along the Tin Can Port corridor.

“Resumption of stripping activities would only be reconsidered after the port access road has been cleared of all impediments.

“Violation of the directive would result in the closure of the terminals, which were not originally licensed for stripping but operate as bonded terminals.

“Bonded terminals which engage in any unwholesome practice have been notified to desist forthwith.”

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Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, has stressed the need to fully berth an intermodal system to facilitate the movement of cargoes in and out of the seaports.

Usman, in a television interview monitored by The Guardian, said: “Inflow and outflow of cargoes at the seaports is a major challenge. The important thing is the deployment of intermodal transportation. I keep speaking to that. If you look at the volumes of cargo at the ports, you will realise the need for intermodalism. We have 1.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent) of containers coming into the port and all were evacuated by road. The road will be congested and eventually get worse because of the weight of the tonnage.

“We need to conclude our rail connections to the port. The Ministry of Transportation is eager to deploy facilities.

“We look at intermodal transportation as the solution to cargo evacuation, whereby you use rail, water, and roads. That mix will allow portions of cargo to be split across modes. In that way, you will not have one mode being put on the pressure.”

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To facilitate cargo examination and evacuation, Usman canvassed efficient cargo scanners at the ports.

She said the 100 per cent physical examination currently operated by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is inefficient, hence the need to digitalise the examination process.

Responding to the congestion of port access roads, the NPA boss said plans were on to unveil an electronic call-up system in January 2021.

She said: “The bad roads make truck drivers hang around the ports lobbying for cargo lifting. So, we must have e-call up where the trucks parks are linked to the port locations, so that each truck can only start going to the port if it is called upon. That is what we need to do and we have concluded on that system.

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