By Steve Agbota
The National Co-ordinator of the 100 percent compliance team of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, has raised an alarm over the perversive inefficiencies and deteriorating services at bonded terminals in the country.
Tanko, who was speaking to journalists in Lagos office, lamented that the unmitigated and shoddy services of these facilities, have been a source of concerns to the NAGAFF team, which has consistently complained of their laxities that have been haunting freight forwarders.
The freightforwarder who doubles as the Vice- President Western Zone of NAGAFF, claimed that about 60 per cent of the bonded terminals in the country lack the required capacity to deliver quality and efficient services as they do not have the requisite equipment and space.
“Most of the bonded terminal operators in Nigeria do not have the capacity to even own a terminal in the first place. The required capacity is that you need to get a minimum of four forklifts of different sizes, the one that can pick twenty foot containers, and forty foot containers.
“You need a large expanse of land that can contain at least 20,000 containers. Most of the bonded terminals don’t have these. Most of them lack these facilities, which has hampered their operations and service delivery.
Tanko wondered how most of these mushroom bonded terminals were able to meet the Customs requirements to secure their operating licenses, given the parlous state of the infrastructural facilities of most of the bonded terminals. He, however, advocated for outright revocation of the licenses of the terminal operators who failed to meet up with the required standard.
“It is the job of the Nigerian Shippers Council to regulate the bonded terminal operators, while it is the duty of Nigeria Customs Service to license them. Before you own a bonded terminal, Customs are expected to go and examine the location and then give you approval.
“But because of corruption, after they have been told to inspect the facility, the officers would okay it, meanwhile it is not up to required standard,” he said.
He enjoined the regulatory agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Shippers’Council, to live up to their statutory duties by properly monitoring the operations of these bonded terminals and sanction the erring ones.