The All Ports Unified Freight Forwarding Practitioners Association is worried about cargo facilitation, import and export, at Lagos Ports. It blamed shipping companies and terminal operators for what it called “frustration of export trade,” alleging that additional levies are imposed on importers aside requisite fees. To the body, this leads to delay in exportation of goods from the terminals.
Its President, Mike Okorie, told reporters at Apapa that the port concession agreement between the Federal Government and the concessionaires had not achieved much in addressing the bottlenecks in cargo clearance at the port.
According to Okorie, exports are rejected overseas because of the delay caused by shipping lines and terminal operators.
He added that due to lack of adequate infrastructure at the terminals, some goods got spoilt while on transit due to delayed take-off by shipping lines.
“We have members who engage in exportation of food stuff and if these commodities stay long before shipping commences, then it is a problem. Take for instance, beans; this is one commodity that is supposed to be given easy access at the port for onward shipping overseas; but the port conces-sionaires and shipping lines with their frivolous charges make things difficult for us,” Okorie said.
He added that beans was very peculiar because most of the cargoes laden with beans were returned to the country for being in unacceptable state, a situation caused by the delay such cargo must have experienced at Nigerian ports.
He alleged that shipping companies rip-off indigenous exporters and freight forwarders with arbitrary charges. He added that export could equate import only if the government would encourage shippers through policies that boost international trade.
“We are not here to indict anybody but the truth is that government should encourage exportation,” he said.
Okorie, who also frowned at the gridlock along the port corridors, said his association has concluded plans to engage the government on how to address some of the anomalies.
One of the areas to focus on, he explained, is for the government to inject life into the operational activities in the eastern ports. When this is done, he explained, it will help in striking a balance across ports in the country, create competitiveness and enabling business environment.
“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to make all ports in Nigeria viable and competitive,” he submitted.
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