Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, Ukaatu stated that customs officers do not work at full capacity on weekends and during public holidays as only few officers are always on ground.
Ukaatu who is also a member of the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC) stated that the gap created as a result of the slow pace of works on weekends and public holidays has resulted in accumulation of demurrage from shipping companies.
“Customs officers are not on ground 100 percent. They are only on ground say 30 to 40 percent on weekends and holidays. If they expected to have like 100 people who are supposed to work, you will only see like 20 of them because they see it as casual work and because the shipping companies will not listen to any excuses, they will keep on accumulating demurrage for the consignee,” he said.
He said contrary to what obtained in the past where vehicles are cleared between one and two days; it now takes as long as two weeks to clear vehicles at the ports.
Ukaatu advised both customs officers and shipping companies to collaborate to ensure smooth exit of cargoes during the public holidays.