Clearing activities at the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have been grounded since Monday following a heavy rainstorm that ravaged some parts of Lagos last Sunday.
The rainstorm, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered, blew off a part of the command’s building roof and broke one of its masts thereby leading to loss of network connection of the customs server at the command.
Some Customs agents who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY lamented that since the weekend rainstorm, clearing documents have been trapped within the Customs’ system thereby making it impossible for them to complete their clearance process.
The aggrieved agents said their importers would be made to pay for the extra cost of demurrage that would have accrued since the beginning of the network failure.
One of the agents who identified himself as Wasiu Raimi advised that Customs should revert to manual form of clearance pending when the network is restored.
“Let them (Customs) allow us to use the manual way to clear the consignments waiting for final clearance at the gate at least that was how we were doing it before they introduced the electronic form of clearance. This server may not work until the mast is erected and we don’t know how long it will take.
“An importer may have close to 75 containers in the port and the shipping charges for each container is 4,500 that multiplied by 75 is a lot of money and terminal charges are not inclusive. At the end of the day, it is the final consumer that will bear the additional cost of goods at the market,” he said.
Spokesperson of the Apapa Customs Command, Emmanuel Ekpa, who confirmed the incident, said efforts were in top gear to restore the network connection