Imported used vehicles at Tin Can Island terminal on Thursday last week
Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS), has taken the foremost vehicles handling terminal in Nigeria, Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) to the cleaners, accusing them of losing steam as the number one vehicles handling terminal in Nigeria.
President of the association, Rev Jonathan Nicol, who said this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week, also defined the smuggling of bullet proof vehicles into the country and as a national risk.
He maintained that there is nothing like trade facilitation in the terminal anymore even as he complained of the uncooperative attitude of officers of the Nigeria Customs Service attached to the terminal.
“I went to PTML terminal a couple of weeks ago, I must say that the terminal has lost that flare that made them to be the number one vehicle handling terminal in the country. Because there is nothing like facilitation of trade anymore they query anything that you bring. Even to see the Controller there is like you want to go and see gods and we don’t like all those things. I went there to see the Controller and they said I should see her PA, is that how to do business; without us, she won’t be there. Apart from my own, if other people are complaining which means the problem is enormous; which means they are not doing their duties, they are only there to create problems for importers and we will try to ask people not to take us to PTML again”, he said.
Nicol, said that the more problems there are at the terminal, the more shipping companies benefit from the payment of demurrages and all that.
“Because it is a matter of choice, we know those days when there are problems, the terminals will intervene; that is how it is supposed to be but now, the more problems they have the shipping companies make more money on demurrages. So they don’t even take any step to facilitate trade anymore at PTML. They have very non-cooperating officers there these days, those were the people that were in Lilypond that succeeded in bringing down the terminal and they are here now at PTML and they are doing the same thing. So the CGC should make sure that they transfer all those officers away from Lagos, because there are certain things you can’t defend”, he advised.
According to him, importers of bullet proof vehicles should try and get the End User Certificate from the National Security Adviser (NSA) before they can be allowed to carry out importation of such vehicles.
“When you talk of bullet proof vehicles, the first thing you need to talk about is the End User Certificate. That is the first step before you even import; as soon as you get the Bill of Lading and the invoice, you go to NSA office and apply for the End User Certificate. But if you follow the root of smuggling, which means they are not going to pay for the certificate and we consider that to be a national risk. Because the NSA will give you clearance for you to import that particular vehicle that they are aware that you are bringing in such vehicle for the purpose of which it was meant to be brought in, without that certificate every other thing is illegal, I don’t blame customs”, he concluded.