Palletisation: Shippers calls for suspension of policy

Shipping pallets

The Federal Government has been urged to suspend the import policy on “palletisation’’ to make Nigerian ports more attractive.

The President, Shippers Association in Lagos State (SALS), Jonathan Nicol, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Friday.

Nicol said that there are some other import policies that should be reviewed, especially the import policy on palletisation.

“Government should suspend the policy because it is too herculean to shippers (importers and exporters).’’

The Federal Government had directed all containerised cargo coming into Nigeria to be on pallets by Jan. 1.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said the new measure would aid manual examination of consignment, “while the country awaits the acquisition and installation of functional scanners at the seaports and land borders’’.

“If government continues with the palletisation policy, shippers will suffer and the cost of doing business in Nigerian ports will be high.’’

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He, however, said that the association expressed its concern so that government would not lose more cargo.

According to Nicol, some shippers have already left Nigeria as a result of unfavourable import policies.

“We expect government to restructure the entire maritime administration because shippers are facing a lot of challenges at the ports.

“The Nigeria Customs Service generated N1.03 trillion in 2017, which showed that most operators at the ports did what was right,’’ the shipper said.

According to him, there has not been an enabling environment in the port system.

He disclosed that before now, shippers spent N50, 000 on a truck trip from Apapa to Ikeja, saying that they now spent N350, 000 as a result of bad port access roads.

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The shipper commended the Federal Government for taking urgent steps toward rehabilitation of Apapa ports road.

He pleaded that government should extend the road rehabilitation to Tin Can Island port.

“If government continues with the palletisation policy, shippers will suffer and the cost of doing business in Nigerian ports will be high.’’

Pallets are plane, flat structures utilised in cargo container ships for supporting goods.