Investigations have shown that it is not all vehicles that are imported into the nation through the seaports that were damaged vehicles right from the ports of origin, some actually got damaged in Nigerian terminal owing to bad handling during off-loading at the terminals.
When Shipping Position Daily visited one of the terminals in Lagos last week, it was observed that malfunctioning forklifts that are used to move some vehicles from one point to the other inflict damages on some vehicles.
It was also observed that one of the fork lifts in the process of trying to move a Toyota Tacoma pick up from the terminal to the road ended up breaking the side mirror of the vehicle.
We also gathered that most of the drivers operating such fork lift in and around the ports lack the requisite training to man such equipment, thereby incurring some additional expenses for the importers of such damaged vehicles.
Meanwhile, a clearing agent who pleaded anonymity to avoid being victimized said that the importer or the agent will be the person to suffer for such mistakes, adding that the terminal operator often denies such damages, leaving the agent to pay for what he knows nothing about.
“This is the type of thing we see here and at the end of the day, the importer or the agent will be meant to pay for such damages. It mostly falls on the agent because most times the importer will tell you that the vehicle was not damaged when it was loaded in the container, so he will not be repairing anything. Sometime he will even delay to pay your complete payment if you fail to repair the damaged side of the good”, he explained.
He also said that things like this are very common because some of the terminal operators lack the equipment and the human capacity to handle some of those cargoes.
“These things happen because some of them use low capacity folk lifts to carry a heavy load and thereby standing the risk of some of those goods falling off the machines and getting damaged. I think the terminal operators should do something fast to avoid all these”, he concluded.
Also speaking, a clearing agent who simply gave his name as Papa Ejima, said that it is the importer that bears the additional cost even as he maintained that it is very common among terminal operators at the nation's ports.
“As long as you imported a damaged car that can’t move, the possibilities of the vehicle getting damaged the more is higher here. If you want your vehicle to come in without any dent from the terminal operator, then you should be ready to pay for VIP so that it will be carefully and properly handled alone. But if you didn’t pay for VIP, anything you see you will take it. Some dents you see on some vehicles are from the terminals and not from the ports of origin and at the end of the day the importer will pay”, he said.