The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called on the Federal Government to urgently direct all the ships on Lagos, Port Harcourt and Onne anchorages waiting to berth to other ports.
In a press statement made available to newsmen and signed by ANLCA National President, Iju Tony Nwabunnike said, “we observe that a lot of ships are presently waiting to berth in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Onne ports, thereby attracting trucks and other heavy duty vehicles to these areas.
“This development has not only hampered free movement of cargo laden trucks, but also impacting adversely on the ongoing port access road construction. In addition to causing loss of revenue to government, the situation has capacity to create unemployment and slow national economic growth.
“We hereby call on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct all the ships waiting on Lagos and Port harcourt anchorages be diverted within a period of three months to ports in Warri, Delta State and Calabar, Cross River State.”
The association said Nigeria bound cargoes are presently being diverted to Duala Port, Cameroun due to the long waiting periods and cargo owners desire for quick turn around time for vessels.
The association explained that shippers and cargo owners are very conscious about ships turn around time and will likely embrace opportunities for quicker discharge of cargoes.
The association added: “This diversion, in ANLCA’s opinion, will not only support the government’s Ease of Doing Business objective but will also reduce the number of trucks on some port access roads and allow speedy execution of the ongoing construction along the corridor.
“It will also help in averting avoidable congestion with adverse effects in Lagos and Portharcourt ports. This action requires some urgency before we enter another rainy season when construction work may be slowed down as it could lead to massive job losses if not approved and implemented.”
The association said the diversion of the ships would also make for even distribution of maritime trade among cities where ports are domiciled while opening the economy to fresh business opportunities.