Apapa port reopens for business, as NPA clears agents’ blockade

The management of Lagos Port Complex (LPC) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it has cleared the blockade mounted by clearing agents and re-opened the nation’s major seaport for business.

This is coming nine days after clearing agents shut the port over alleged high charges by terminal operators.

“The port is now open and people are free to come in and transact their business,” LPC Port Manager, Mr. Nasir Anas Mohammed said this evening.

He said the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security operatives have been put on alert to provide adequate security to anyone willing to transact business at the port.

“We have informed the agents that while they have the right to protest, they do not have the right to blockade the port or disturb others who have legitimate transactions to carry out at the port. So we have informed them and they have also seen reason with us. We assure all port users that their security is guaranteed. The Police and relevant security operatives have been duly informed and they have assured that adequate security will be provided to all port users.

“Trucks are free to come into the port, load and exit without entertaining any fear.

“We are also mediating in the matter between the agents and APM Terminals with a view to reaching an amicable solution but port operations will continue as the talks hold,” the Port Manager said.

The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) had earlier described the blockade as “a reckless act capable of hurting Nigeria’s economy”.

It is estimated that the Nigerian economy loses about N5 billion daily as a result of the agents’ action.

While the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is losing an average of N1.4 billion daily as a result of the agents’ action; shipping lines, manufacturing companies, haulage/trucking firms, terminal operators, Nigerian Ports Authority, importers, clearing agents and other agencies of government are collectively losing about N3.6 billion daily amounting to an average daily loss of N5 billion.

Area Project Manager, Apapa Area Command of the NCS, Deputy Comptroller Yusuf Malanta explained that even while some documents could be processed online, containers could not exit the port because they could not examined by Customs officers.