The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has urged the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to commence the process of auctioning of overtime cargoes around the ports immediately.
The was contained in a recent press statement issued by the General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communication of NPA, Engr. Adams Jatto, who said the auctioning of overtime cargoes is imperative as the ports are meant to be transit and not storage facilities.
According to the statement, these auctions should be carried out on the spot at ports locations and every buyer would be given a stipulated short period to evacuate the cargoes out of the ports after which they will be re-auctioned.
The statement read further that terminal operators are however encouraged to negotiate and grant waivers to consignees to facilitate the evacuation of these cargoes to mitigate against the auctioning, which will result in a total loss of revenue by the terminal operator and the loss of cargo by the consignee.
“The Authority wishes to state that these measures are emergency steps taken to immediate reduce the financial burden of congestion on citizens as the Federal Government proceeds to permanently resolve the congestion through the following: reconstruction of the port access road, the provision of trailer park and holding bays with e-call up system.
“The enhancement of cargo evacuation using rail transportation and inland waterways with barges among others. The Authority recognizes the financial implications of these policies on the terminal operators and shipping companies and will consider a shift in our operational charges to ameliorate the situation of stakeholders,” it stated.
However, in order to reduce the attendant financial burden that the congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Port has brought on importers, the NPA announced the following measures which already takes immediate effect from Tuesday, December 18, 2018, that there would be an increase in rent- free period for cargoes housed in the terminals from the current period of three (3) free days before commencement of rent charges to 21 free days before commencement of rent charges for a period of four (4) months.
The Authority added: “With effect from Tuesday, December 18, 2018, there will be an increase in the demurrage free period on return of empty containers from the current 5 days period to 15 days for a period of four (4) months. Shipping Companies should immediately deploy sweeper vessels to evacuate empty containers from the Port to clear the backlog of empty containers littering the country within four (4) months. The Authority encourages the use of Onne Ports for such sweeper vessels.”