By Samson Echenim
Following congestion at seaports in Lagos that has lasted for over two months, the Nigerian Ports Authority has ordered ships which could not get berthing space at Apapa and Tin Can ports in Lagos to the eastern ports.
The eastern ports under the NPA port district are ports in Delta, Rivers and Cross River states. They include, among others, Onne Port, Rivers Port in Port Harcourt, Calabar Port and Delta Port, Warri. The ports in Calabar and Warri have suffered low patronage since they were concessioned in 2006.
The new directive if followed by the international shipping lines, is expected to boost business activities at the eastern ports.
NPA in a statement on Friday said the directive was in response to the recent increase in the waiting time of vessels calling at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, adding that it had met met with shipping companies and terminal operators and arrived at the decision aimed at immediately resolving the congestion in the Lagos Pilotage District.
“As from Monday January 27, 2020, vessels which have waited to berth at any terminal within the Lagos Pilotage District will be diverted to other terminals with capacity to berth vessels within the district. In the event that all terminals in Lagos cannot discharge any vessels within four days, such vessels will be diverted to the Eastern Ports (other pilotage districts) for immediate berthing.The authority will liaise with other relevant government agencies on behalf of stakeholders to expedite the clearance of vessels and cargoes, where necessary,” NPA said in the statement signed by Jatto Adams, general manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications.
“These actions have been taken to promote the Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Federal Government and curtail the negative economic impact that the long turnaround time of vessels has on stakeholders,” NPA added, as it begged “the cooperation of all stakeholders.”