Shippers Count Losses, NPA Resumes Export Receipts
Shippers in the country have said they lost N780bn in 2020 because they could not access shipments in ports. They said the inability to access the ports affected both in imports and export cargoes.
President of Shippers Association Lagos State, Jonathan Nicol, said this in an interview with our correspondent, adding that as a result, shippers had begun considering other ports.
He said, “Last year was a bad year by the time we computed goods lost based on inability to enter the port.
“Most of the cargoes are perishable items. A lot of them were returned damaged. Some of the goods got spoilt before they could even be shipped. It involves both import and export cargoes.
“When you bring in goods and you cannot access the ports for three weeks or one month, what do you call that? Something that should take you days, you can’t get it in one month.”
He added, “We put our losses at more than 780bn for lack of port infrastructures as vessels are now leaving our waters to other West African ports like Cotonou, Lomo and Ghana ports to discharge Nigerian bound cargo.”
The Nigerian Ports Authority had temporarily suspended export cargo at the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Port for a period of two weeks.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman said it was to clear the backlog of 600 trucks on truck access roads.
Nicol said the aftermath of that event was the falling number of shipments. He said the association expected to receive around 500 containers but the current gridlock due to the cancellation of export cargoes dropped that number to less than 150.
He said, “Normally, we are supposed to receive from Lagos ports 400 to 500 containers every day. We don’t have that patronage anymore because of the bottlenecks around there. And we are not receiving even up to 150 containers every day. So we have appealed to all our members to be patient so that we can sort the call-up system once and for all.”
He added, “If you hire a truck with consignments on top, you are liable to pay demurrage for those trucks. So we are also talking to truckers to sacrifice as much as we are sacrificing for the electronic call up system to work.
“We cannot continue to lose money and belabour the marine bridge with several trucks on top. Outside the trucks, we should consider the link to Apapa through the marine bridge. They should not line up to trucks on the bridge. Everyone is losing money to make the e call up work.”
An exporter, Adebayo Adisa, said neighbouring ports were more favourable than Nigeria’s when it comes down to the ease of doing business.
He said, “Go to neighbouring countries and see. Things are efficient because the ports are very critical to the economy in and out. A lot of things are expensive in Nigeria because of unnecessary and avoidable costs.
“So who are the ones paying for all these costs; it is you and I. If you buy anything imported, the importer is going to add the costs.”
Adisa added that some exporters’ trucks were attacked on the roads by bandits, saying, “It is happening every day. They would hold you to ransom, get you to park, check what is inside your container and if they are interested, they will detain your driver, drive your consignments to their trucks, offload and go away with them.”
Meanwhile, the NPA had resumed the receipt of export cargoes in Lagos ports.
Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, Export Group, Kola Awe, confirmed this in a phone interview with our correspondent.