The port economic regulator, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has charged the Port & Cargo Handling Services (P&CHS) limited to fasttrack its port automation processes in order to have seamless cargo evacuation at the terminal.
Speaking when the management of the NSC paid a courtesy visit to the P&CHS, Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, said the company has to improve in its operations in terms of efficiency, as it takes a cargo about four months to exit the terminal via barges based on the reports received by NSC.
According to him, P&CHS scored 25 per cent out of a possible hundred in the area of port automation.
“There are issues we will like P&CHS to work on. This issues borthers on efficiency and a host lot of others. Government is trying as much as possible to fix the roads, which is about 75 percent completed. We know the roads are bad, but we will not take that as an excuse for Nigerians to be exploited.
“We know that P&CHS has outlets where containers are stemmed to, to avoid port congestion. However, we expect this to be done at zero cost to the shippers. We have heard instances where P&CHS bills shippers for stemming cargoes to bonded terminals. This is unacceptable. It is against the international contract of carriage and affreightment,” he added.
Another issue NSC said it has with P&CHS is delays associated with transfer and loading of barges despite the fact that these barges belong to P&CHS, adding that delays span around four months before barges are loaded and transfered.
“We won’t accept this anymore. The port is a transit point, not a warehouse. In the area of automation, P&CHS has not been found to be appealing. Infact, the terminal was scored 25 percent when other terminals were scoring 60 percent and 75 percent. By first quarter of 2021, we need all the ports to be fully automated,” he added.
Responding to the complaints of the Executive Secretary of the NSC, the Managing Director of P&CHS, Mr. John Jenkins, blamed the deplorable state of ports access roads to the slow process of cargo evacuation at the terminal.
In his words, “the problems at the ports is the road. If the ports access roads problem is solved, all the problems inside the ports will be solved. There are no transfer of containers by road anymore because of the state of the roads.