Reps wade into JPS, Honeywell flour seaport rift
The lingering crisis between Josephdam Port Services (JPS) and Honeywell Flour Mills, has attracted the attention of the legislators, as the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation recently intervened and called on both parties to settle amicably.
The duo have been at loggerheads over the request by JPS that Honeywell should remove its purported idle gantries situated in its terminal to allow for expansion projects as stipulated by the port concession agreement.
The Committee members, led by its Chairman, Shadimu Mutiu, were at Tin Can Ports to examine the situation, and sued for amicable resolution and sacrifices to make peace reign at the port.
The Managing Director, JPS, Simon Travers, said: “the only obstacle to our development project is the removal of Honeywell’s overhead conveyors, which are obsolete and cannot be repaired or used again. In fact the last time it was used was over seven years ago.
“The fact that is we have already expended and committed so much in terms of labour, time and capital but we are committed to bringing our Terminal up to international standards and to provide first class facilities and service to all our clients. We are committed and immediately ready to continue the development of our Terminal. We have the financing in place, the contractors and consultants have already been appointed but we cannot build unless and until the issue with Honeywell is resolved permanently,” he said.
Travers continued: “The Lease granted to us was for 10 years. Unfortunately, because of various litigation and refusal of some tenants,users/occupiers to leave the Terminal no development or improvement could be carried out by us. It took four years for these issues to be resolved. This had a great adverse effect on our operations and control of the terminal.
“Because of the above it was agreed by all the Parties that a five-year extension of the Lease be granted to us to make up for the delay in taking effective control of the Terminal in April 2014.
“With all due respect, we suffered severe financial losses due to this setback, these include financing costs (interests on loans) personnel and operational costs and financial obligations to the NPA.
“Again, unfortunately we have not been able to carry out or start a major aspect of our development obligation under the Lease Agreement because of some alleged third party claim. This is despite the fact that we have obtained all necessary consents,licences and permits from all approving authorities,” he said.
The Managing Director of Honeywell Flour Mills, Lanre Jaiyeola, said the conveyor belt is in line with the future ambition of its business, claiming that its removal might jeopardise its progress.
He said Honeywell has been a sitting tenant before the port concession and the equipment were already in place before the takeover by JPS.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) officials at the meeting claimed their intervention in the matter, did not yield any meaningful result as the parties were adamant.