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FG to evacuate overtime cargoes from ports

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Problems with overdue cargo were having an impact on port operations.

To improve the country’s port service, the Federal Government of Nigeria has taken steps to get rid of abandoned cargo from the country’s ports. According to the Nigeria Port Authority, delays caused by overdue cargoes prevented ships from docking in Onne ports, making the Coutonu ports the preferred destination causing freight rates to be lower than in Nigeria. These were discussed at a stakeholders meeting to raise awareness about overtime cargo, which the Joint Task Team/Committee organised to address Overtime Cargo Issues at National Ports and Terminals. Dr. Magdalene Ajani, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transportation, said that the problems with overdue cargo were having an impact on port operations.

In her presentation on the problems and effects of overtime cargo at the terminals, the Director of Maritime Service Ministry of Transportation, Babatunde Sule, who represented Ajani, noted that port space was in high demand. Also, Ajani stated that cargo and containers should not be kept at the port for extended periods of time. She emphasised how important it is to maximise storage space. This is not a place for long-term warehousing. Correct storage is essential to the success of the port industry. A storage-free environment must be created. Costs accumulate when they stay past their allotted time.

Storage for arriving cargo at the facility has become scarce.

Nonetheless, Sule said after the meeting and maintained that the issue voiced at the ports has been one of the overtime cargoes. As a result, storage for arriving cargo at the ports has become scarce. If there is not enough storage, NPA will not be able to generate sufficient funds to keep running. Cargoes arriving overdue are a typical occurrence. It lengthens the time it takes for ships to arrive at port. The existing ones must be cleared for a new one to come in. This is the main cause of the demurrage problems.

Mohammed Bello Koko, managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, also revealed that cargo congestion at the ports hinders operations and that the newly established Presidential Committee Team will work to reduce the amount of time that cargoes spend waiting to be processed. The manager of the Onne Port, Stanley Magaji Yimor Eno, who spoke on Koko’s behalf, said that the space in the terminal became jammed up. Movement is hindered. The removal of the previous container necessitates additional handling by the cargo operator before a new container can be picked.

Poor road conditions leading to the port are impeding it.

If Customs decides to auction off a shipment, the owner receives nothing, and the terminal’s owners and operators receive nothing as well. Equipment mobility is restricted as a result. When this occurs, the port takes into account all of these factors. The high cost of shipping is a direct result of these inefficiencies. That’s why many in Nigeria are mystified as to why shipping costs less in Coutonu. The Port of the Future is One. All of Lagos’s shipments are within its reach. During an interview, the manager of Onne Port stated that the port’s operations had suffered due to the poor condition of the roads leading to the port.

The issues of overtime freight, he said, need to be rectified so that it can function efficiently. These issues are prevalent everywhere. Long-staying cargoes are causing congestion and it is important that they find a solution. Therefore, the Managing Director has assured the Steering Committee, the Customs, and all those with a part to play that NPA is ready to work with them to contribute all of NPA’s resources to guarantee a successful outcome to this endeavour.

Operation is currently ongoing in the Eastern ports.

Moreover, they are highly concerned about the low quality of the Onne Port, as a Port without a proper access road is an inefficient Port, and this will cause delays in the evacuation of cargo. The high expense of conducting business is another issue. The NPA is unable to address it. It’s up to the federal government to do it. Moreover, Sylvester Egede, the Presidential Committee Task Team Secretary, acknowledged that the group has begun working in the Eastern ports.

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