FG, port operators lose N35b to blockade of port activities

The spokesman for STOAN, Bolaji Akinola, said in a statement in Lagos on Sunday that the blockade resulted from customs agents’ rejection of port charges

The Federal Government and port operators have lost about N35 billion in a week to blockade of the Apapa Port activities by customs agents, Seaports Terminal Operators’ Association of Nigeria has said.
The spokesman for STOAN, Bolaji Akinola, said in a statement in Lagos on Sunday that the blockade resulted from customs agents’ rejection of port charges.
The agents’ action began on November 3.
Akinola said that the Apapa Port lost N1.4 billion daily since the blockade began.
Akinola said: ”Shipping lines, manufacturing companies, haulage firms, terminal operators, Nigerian Ports Authority, importers, clearing agents and other agencies of government are collectively losing about N3.6 billion daily.”
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council in October published an advertisement announcing the reversal of storage charges at the ports.
The charges were reverted to what obtained as at May 1, 2009.
The NSC also directed an increase in the free storage period at the ports from three days to seven days.
The council equally directed shipping companies to reduce agency charges from N26,500 to N23,850 per TEU (20-foot container) and from N48,000 to N40,000 per FEU (40-foot container).
It also directed shipping agencies to refund deposits for containers to importers and agents within 10 working days after return of empty containers.
The charges were to begin in November.
However, shortly after publishing the directives, terminal operators under the aegis of STOAN and shipping line agencies secured interim injunctions from the Federal High Court to stop the NSC from implementing the directives.
Justice Ibrahim Buba granted an ex parte motion filed by STOAN.
Buba gave an injunction restraining the NSC and its agents from reversing the charges pending the determination of a substantive suit on the matter.
Buba adjourned the matter till November 10, 2014 for further hearing.
Shipping lines under the umbrella of the Association of Shipping Line Agencies also secured a similar court injunction.
Akinola said that the blockade of terminals at the nation’s premier port could “hurt” the economy.
The association urged the Nigerian Ports Authority, the police and other concerned authorities to clear the blockade to allow those wishing to clear their cargoes to gain access into the ports.

 

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