Private terminal operators, otherwise known as concessionaires, have told the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) that terminal handling and storage charges and have become too low to sustain meaningful investment at the port.
The terminal operators stated this during a crucial meeting with the Executive Director, Marine and Operations of NPA, Engr. David Omonibeke, in Lagos on Wednesday.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), Mr. Yehuda Kotik, who spoke on the challenges facing terminal operators during the meeting also identified poor clearing and customs processes as the main reasons for the backlog of containers at the terminals.
Kotik wants free hand for terminal operators to adjust their local charges in line with inflation rate in the country. He said it is only fair that terminal operators are allowed to increase their local charges according to the changes in the cost of their operations.
“Once a year based on the inflation of last year we have to increase our local charges exactly according to inflation…We don’t need to ask to be allowed to increase our charges. We should be allowed that every year, 1st January, our Terminal Handling Charges and delivery should be identical to the yearly inflation percent,” Kotik said.
The terminal operators also said that many consignees are using the ports as storage areas due to the low storage charges.
The terminal operators said that they are facing a lot of hurdles trying to keep to the terms of their lease agreement with the government in the light of the nation’s economic and infrastructural problems.
Other issues brought up at the meeting were insecurity, human influx into the ports, epileptic power supply among others as deterrents to the smooth operations of the terminals.
Omonibeke assured the terminal operators that he will take their complaints to the management of the authority asserting that NPA is committed to ameliorating the problems.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Omonibeke said that NPA was not unaware of the challenges confronting the terminal operators. He said that the meeting was to hear the challenges directly from the terminal operators and deliberate on how to manage them to reduce congestion at the ports especially with the fast approaching yuletide season.
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