By Samson Echenim
Due to the traffic crisis on the Apapa axis, the Nigerian Ports Authority is considering a 30 per cent waiver on lease and container throughput charges for terminal operators in Apapa and Tin CAN Island ports.
On their parts, shipping lines and terminal operators have announced extension of demurrage free period by five days, giving importers a total of eight days during which their cargoes could be at the terminals without charge.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos on the matter, Hassan Bello, executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, said that the council is currently in talks with NPA on the need to grant the 30 per cent waiver in port dues to terminal operators.
He however noted that this would be a temporary measure as the long term solution to the Apapa gridlock is still underway.
Bello said, “There is an emergency and everyone will have to make some sacrifices. Terminals are making sacrifices. They are increasing demurrage to eight days from three days. The shipping companies are also extending their free demurrage periods from five to 12 days.
“We are also talking with NPA to also relax and make the charges and give 30 percent waiver of certain charges within the period contemplated, this is a temporary measure, but this is what I call general average sacrifice in order to save the situation, when a ship is about to capsize, we have a general average situation where the heavy cargoes are jettisoned and thrown overboard in order for the ship to survive.”
Speaking on the dwell time of cargoes at Nigerian ports, the shippers council boss lamented that as a result of infrastructure decay and system failure, the cargo dwell time is now getting uncomfortably longer and this is not good for business.
“Don’t forget that we are competing with other ports and we need to make our ports efficient, but with the way the government is going now, I think all the challenges will be a thing of the past,” he noted.