‘Government agencies delaying cargoes at terminals’
•APM Terminals Apapa records 8.1million TEUs in 15 years
The Manager, APM Terminals Apapa, Steen Knudsen, has blamed overlapping responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for the delay in dwell time of containers at port terminals.
He said all the agencies have to approve the movement of cargo out of the port, noting that when the processes are harmonised, cargo clearing would be faster and the cost of importation reduced.
Knudsen said a higher exchange rate has started to hurt importers and that cargoes seem to be slowing down simply because warehouses are getting full.
He said while there was a compelling need to reduce the dwell time of containers at the terminal, several factors, most of them beyond the control of terminal operators, made consignees keep their containers at the terminals beyond appropriate time.
Knudsen noted that APM Terminals Apapa, had handled about 8.1 million twenty equivalent units (TEU) of containers in the past 15 years.
He noted that the container volumes at the terminal had increased by an average of 23 per cent annually over the past five years.
“We handled 8,134, 847 TEUs of containers since 2006 and more than 650,000 TEUs per year in 2020 and 2021 – the majority of that being import volume. In the last five years, we have managed to grow the business extensively – by 23 per cent yearly on average. We are continuously making our terminal operations more efficient.
“As a terminal, we are interested in ensuring that dwell time remains as low as possible. However, there are processes in place that we are not in direct control of,” Knudsen said.
He said the strategy of APM Terminals Apapa is to be the preferred logistics gateway into the Nigerian economy and to provide world-class services.
“World-class services mean the shipping lines that come in get a consistent and cost-efficient product, i.e. that we handle their vessels fast, hence translating into a reduced cost of import and export in the market.
“For the Nigerian importers and exporters, it would mean that our efficiency on the waterfront allows us to be also cost-efficient in terms of facilitating their trade back into the market”, Knudsen added.