Importers operating at the Tin-Can Island ports of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have incurred huge surcharges from shipping companies and terminal operators as the Nigeria Customs Integration System (NICIS2) server is experiencing operational difficulties.
This server failure, which has crippled business activities at the Tin-Can Island port would lead to huge demmurage and storage charges for importers as processes of documentation for Customs clearance by clearing agents have remained very difficult.
The Tin-Can Island Port is the second busiest seaports in Nigeria after Apapa. The port has five terminal operators with different concessioning agreements.
Under the NICIS 2 platform, importers and clearing agents are expected to process their clearance documents right from the confines of their homes and offices, this was designed to reduce the level of crowd trooping into Nigerian ports and various Customs commands.
One of the clearing agents at Tin Can Island Port, Mr Adebowale Dare, alleged that the server failure was deliberately caused by Customs officers because the online platform has reduced physical contact at the command.
According to him, the server failure for the past two weeks has ensured that clearing agents visit the customs processing centre (CPC) popularly called “longroom” to generate their clearance documents.
He said: “We can be trying to capture a job for a whole day and the Customs website would be failing, you won’t be able to generate accessment, even if you succeeded in generating accessment and capture your job, you wont be able to generate C number.
“If you are unable to generate C number, you cannot print out the accessment, you would now be forced to go to the Customs long room before they can generate it for you. Under normal circumstances, they told us that we can generate accessment and capture jobs right from our offices. But now we are unable to generate C number but I believe Customs deliberately caused this problem.”
He lamented that the situation has been happening for the past two weeks, saying that If one cannot generate C number, the demurrage would be accumulating.
However, the Tin Can Island Command of Customs has debunked these allegations of bribery and deliberately frustrating the NICIS2 platform.
Also speaking, Chukwudi Daniel said he has been unable to clear his importers cargoes for the past one week.