As exclusively reported by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, the Minister had last Friday set up the committee, which is headed by the Executive Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Engr. David Omonibeke, after an inspection tour of the Lagos ports to resolve problems of cargo clearance.
The committee, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered, reconvened yesterday after it met on Monday and Tuesday, but could not reach a consensus as the sitting ended inconclusively.
An authoritative source informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY at the end of the meeting, which had representatives of shipping companies, terminal operators, cargo scanning service providers and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in attendance and expected to end yesterday that the committee could not reach a consensus and thereby could not draft a resolution which would be presented to the minister due to alleged clash of interests and insincerity among members of the committee.
The sitting, according to the source, almost ended in chaos, as each party allegedly engaged in trade blames for the issues that inspired the setting up of the committee.
Ts source said: “This (committee) might end up like another tea party committee if expedient action is not taken by the committee to address this problem of congestion and fashion out resolutions to the minister, especially now that we are in the ’ember months when import volume will rise.”
The committee had been given the following terms of reference:
• To identify the factors responsible for the cause of delay in the clearance of cargoes at the ports;
• To verify issues militatating against speedy examination/scanning of containers, i.e. space availability, equipment, overbooking, and terminal layout etc;
• To come up with the modalities for stemming of vessels to off dock terminal with a view to reducing terminal congestion;
• To harmonise off dock terminal charges with a view to reducing the cost of delivery of containers;
• To come up with a blue print for a lasting solution to the lingering problem of port congestion; and
• To make any other recommendations that will improve operatonal efficiency in the terminals.