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Congestion traps 26 vessels in Lagos ports, shippers lament delays


The lingering congestion at the Lagos ports has continued to constitute a major setback for shippers, as over 26 vessels have been trapped in the Lagos Pilotage district waiting to berth and discharge consignments.

The Guardian learnt that it now takes over 20 days for vessels to berth at Apapa Ports due to the congestion in the terminals, occasioned by poor access roads.

Also, terminal operators now groan under the congestion, while the international shipping firms are also worried about the condition, which affects their movement across stipulated routes globally.

It was also learnt that vessels that have arrived Nigerian waters since January 3, 2020, and a few others that arrived earlier in December still await berthing at the ports.

As at yesterday, no fewer than 26 vessels hanging on the high sea were tagged CRNAPP, an acronym for Customs Release Not Applicable (West Coast) going by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) data.

However, an international shipping firm, Hapag-Lloyd, has lamented the delay at Lagos ports, which, he said was adversely affecting its movement cycle.

A memo issued by the shipping firm stated that the current waiting time for berthing in APMT terminal (Apapa) is more than 20 days, while it exceeds 10 days at TICT terminal (Tincan Island). These operational delays heavily affect its two services, MIAX and MWX, which contain both terminals in their long-term schedules.

“In order to overcome this challenge and to minimise the negative effect on our customers using these services, we are continuously evaluating the situation and taking schedule integrity measures for each vessel approaching the Lagos ports,” Hapag-Lloyd stated.

“In case a decision is reached to omit APMT terminal, cargoes are discharged at TICT terminal and further transferred to KCT terminal by dedicated barge service on Hapag-Lloyd account and arrangement, where customs clearance of Apapa cargo is possible, which occurs, especially on MIAX service.

“We will continue to work on long-term solutions to provide more stability and service reliability for our customers in managing their supply chains through Port of Lagos,” he added.

Meanwhile, the latest Shipping Position released by the NPA indicated that 23 vessels and three other motor tankers await berthing at the Lagos pilot district.

Most of the vessels are laden with containerised cargo, wheat and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol.

Besides, 20 new vessels are expected to arrive in Nigeria between today and February 1, 2020. They are laden with wheat, sugar, base oil, fish, general cargo, steel, salt, containerised cargo and petrol.

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