The Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) on Tuesday urged the Nigeria Customs Service to immediately commence the process of auctioning overtime cargoes at the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos.
NPA in a statement said the move was to reduce congestion at the ports as they are meant to be transit and not storage facilities.
“The Nigerian Customs Service is urged to immediately commence the process of auctioning overtime cargoes. This is imperative as the ports are meant to be transit and not storage facilities. These auctions should be carried out on the spot at port locations and every buyer would be given a stipulated short period to evacuate the cargoes out of the ports after which they will be re-auctioned, the statement read.
Other measures announced by NPA to reduce congestion at the ports, also included an increase in rent-free period for cargoes housed in the terminals.
It said from the current period of three (3) free days before commencement of rent charges, it will now be 21 free days before commencement of rent charges and this would be for a period of four (4) months.
NPA also said there will be an increase in the demurrage free period on return of empty containers from the current five days period to 15 days, also for a period of four (4) months.
The statement read, “Shipping Companies should immediately deploy sweeper vessels to evacuate empty containers from the port to clear the backlog of empty containers littering the country within four (4) months. The Authority encourages the use of Onne Ports for such sweeper vessels.”
“Terminal operators are however encouraged to negotiate and grant waivers to consignees to facilitate the evacuation of these cargoes to mitigate against the auctioning which will result in a total loss of revenue by the terminal operator and the loss of cargo by the consignee.
“The Authority wishes to state that these measures are emergency steps taken to immediately reduce the financial burden of congestion on citizens as the Federal Government proceeds to permanently resolve the congestion through the following: reconstruction of the port access road, the provision of trailer park and holding bays with e-call up system, the enhancement of cargo evacuation using rail transportation nd inland waterways with barges among others.”
NPA said it understands the financial implications of the new policies on stakeholders and would consider steps to reduce this.