The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has begun the evacuation of overtime cargoes to help decongest the port.
The General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Josephine Moltok, announced this through a statement in Lagos. Moltok said the decongestion of the ports to pave way for efficient operations received a boost on June 23 when the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Magdalene Ajani, led an inter-agency team on assessment
“The team comprising the NPA, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council made an assessment tour of overtime cargoes littering the ports.
“The Lagos and Tincan Island Port Complexes and the Terminals therein including Ikorodu Lighter Terminal have over the years been occupied with 3,200 units of overtime cars and about 3,295 units of overtime containers respectively,” Ms Moltok said.
She added that the eastern ports had a combined total of 956 overtime containers.
“This awkward situation, apart from constraining terminal spaces required for seamless cargo handling operations in the ports, has contributed to deterioration of port infrastructure,” she said.
She added that the port infrastructure are designed as transit locations as opposed to holding dead weight tonnes for years which these age long overtime cargo constitute.
“Following the inspection tour which held on June 23 and June 24 respectively, an all-stakeholder sensitisation involving shipping lines, and association of freight forwarders and clearing agents was convened on June 26
“It was unanimously agreed that all cargoes and containers that have overstayed their required time at the ports should be auctioned “in-situ” (in their current locations) and removed immediately from the ports,” she said.
Ms Moltok said that to ensure transparency and inclusiveness, the modalities to govern the auction process would be finalised by all stakeholders.
She said this would be after a similar sensitisation meeting with stakeholders in the eastern ports of Warri, Rivers, Onne and Calabar.
It will be recalled that Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director, NPA, had at several fora sought the cooperation of the NCS to ensure speedy removal of overtime cargo from the ports and terminal yards.