APM Terminals Apapa Limited has faulted claims that it is responsible for whatever delays in cargo clearance in its area of operation.
Roundly condemning such claims, Media Adviser of APM Terminals Apapa, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, said that such allegations are malicious, baseless and lack logic and merit.
“How can the same firm which has invested over US$200million and has planned a further investment of US$135million to develop and modernise the terminal for efficiency and prompt cargo delivery be accused of causing delay in the cargo clearing process? It is illogical and unfair,” Akinola said.
He said that cargo release does not rest with APM Terminals, but with Customs and other government agencies operating at the port.
“We can’t release cargo until Customs orders it. Our operation is to discharge containers from the vessels, keep them until the owners come to take delivery and position for customs examination. We release the containers only on the orders of the Nigeria Customs Service,” Akinola stated.
He said that delay in cargo clearance is caused by inefficient processes being implemented by government agencies and the high rate of inspection “especially physical examination of containers”.
Akinola said that Customs examines more than 70 percent of containers imported into the country. “The high rate of physical examination is enough to cause delays in cargo clearance at the port. There is nowhere in the world where such is done. Apart from this, the process of nominating containers for scanning is also faulty. Many a times, we don’t get advance information and this does not augur well at all,” he said.
The APM Terminals spokesman faulted insinuations that the terminal operator lacks sufficient cargo handling equipment and examination bay.
“We have sufficient equipment. We have more equipment than anyone else in this clime. We are the best terminal operator and that is incontrovertible. We also have sufficient examination bay but the fact is that even if you turn the whole of Apapa into an examination area, it will still not be enough with the inefficient process and high rate of physical examination as we see today. No amount of equipment will be enough either with the dismal clearing process that we have,” he stated.
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