The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Friday suspended the shipping services of Maerskline, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal shipping companies for ten days.
This is even as the agency accused some of the shipping companies of importing a larger number of containers than empty containers exported, thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.
In a statement made available to journalist on Friday by the Assistant General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications, Isah Suwaid, NPA said it will review the level of compliance of the suspended shipping companies to the holding bay directive after the ten days expiration of their suspension.
According to the NPA, “As part of efforts to resolve the protest by truck drivers at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP) Lagos, the NPA has announced a 10-day suspension of the services of four Shipping Companies, in the first instance.
“The affected shipping companies whose suspension takes effect from Saturday, July 14th, 2018 are Maerskline, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal.
“At the expiration of this suspension, the Authority will review the level of their compliance to its directives.
“It could be recalled that in November 2017, an agreement was reached between the NPA, Shipping Companies and Terminal Operators on the provision of holding bays for their containers through the newly adopted Call-Up system for trucks.
“The suspension of the four shipping companies follows the authority’s checks which revealed that they have failed to comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays as they have either failed to utilise their holding bays at all or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with.
“Some of these companies have also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.
“These conducts have contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis where truck drivers with no immediate business at the ports now park their trucks on the express roads.
“Stakeholders have agreed that while the Call-Up system through the ports management, as advised by shipping companies will remain in force, personnel of the Nigerian Navy will discontinue the issuance of call-ups, even though they will remain on the traffic management team.
“In a related vein, the NPA management reiterated that the planned introduction of a new service charge called “empty positioning fee” by shipping lines is illegal and should not be honoured by any operator.
“Meanwhile, the NPA management had said that henceforth, it would be embarking on regular compliance checks of the operations of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators and stressed that defaulters would be sanctioned.
“The management expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their cooperation and understanding over the perennial traffic congestion along the Apapa and Tin Can Island axis and efforts to find a lasting solution to the problem,” the statement read.