Collaborative Inter-Agency Assessment
Led by Dr. Magdalene Ajani, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, an inter-agency team comprising the NPA, Nigerian Customs, and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council conducted an assessment tour of the ports to evaluate the situation of overtime cargoes. The team’s visit aimed to intensify efforts in evacuating these cargoes that have accumulated over time and cluttered the ports.
Overdue Cargoes’ Impact on Port Infrastructure
The statement released by the NPA shed light on the current state of the ports, revealing that the Lagos and Tincan Island Port complexes, along with the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal, are burdened with approximately 3,200 units of overdue cars and around 3,295 units of overdue containers. Additionally, the eastern ports collectively house 956 overdue containers. This situation not only restricts terminal spaces required for seamless cargo handling but also contributes to the deterioration of port infrastructure, which was originally designed for efficient transit operations.
Agreement on Auctioning of Overtime Cargoes
After the inspection tour, a crucial stakeholders’ sensitization session was held, which involved shipping lines, freight forwarder associations, and clearing agents. During the meeting, unanimous agreement was reached to auction all cargoes and containers that have exceeded their stipulated time at the ports.
This approach involves conducting the auction “in-situ,” meaning the cargoes will be auctioned from their current locations within the ports. The immediate removal of these cargoes is deemed essential to alleviate congestion, free up valuable space, and preserve the durability of the port infrastructure. Modalities governing the auction process will be finalized by all stakeholders after a similar sensitization meeting is held with stakeholders in the eastern ports of Warri, Rivers, Onne, and Calabar.
The Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, has consistently emphasized the importance of cooperation between the NPA and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to facilitate the prompt removal of overtime cargoes from the ports and terminal yards. By addressing this longstanding issue and optimizing port operations, the NPA aims to enhance efficiency, maximize capacity, and preserve the integrity of the capital-intensive port infrastructure.