There was apprehension at the Apapa and the Tin-Can Island ports on Wednesday as Freight forwarders operating at the ports in Lagos could not carry out their business activities due to the failure of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) internet server.
The server failure, which has been blamed on the inefficiency and ineptitude of the service provider, Webb Fontaine, reportedly made capture of information and release of cargoes a herculean task.
A clearing agent, Chukwuma Odinkemma King, who spoke exclusively with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, said the server had been completely down for the whole day even as importers have kept accumulating demurrage and storage charges on their consignments.
The Customs server breakdown has become more frequent of late and has become a major bottleneck in cargo clearance at the ports in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Onne.
“Also at the scanning site there was no service for the DC at the scanning seat, Madam Aremu to work. She cannot release any job today because there is no server to log on to for the job to be released,” King said.
Another agent, Chibuzor Okonkwo, said that the frequent server breakdown is one of the causes of port congestion.
“With no service today now consignments that are supposed to be taken for delivered today will not and will have to start paying demurrage. The money that is supposed to be used for another job will still be used on a job,” he stated.
It may be recalled that the National president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, recently alleged that the server failure was a deliberate attempt on the part of Webb Fontaine to thwart government effort towards efficient implementation of the destination inspection scheme.
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