Group Alleges Higher Duty On Vehicles In Apapa Than Other Ports

…….Tariffs are the same in all the ports—PRO

The Association of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) has said that the cost of clearing goods especially vehicles at Apapa ports is always higher compared to what is obtainable in other ports.

The association, which disclosed this to Shipping Position Daily last week , also accused Customs valuation officers attached to the ports of being responsible for the high rate of duties payable on vehicles at the premier port.

Speaking during the chat, the Apapa Chapter chairman of the association, Mr Jones Idemili, said that a container which you spent for example, N1,800,000 to clear in Apapa, you will spend like N1, 500, 000 for the same cargo in Tin- Can.

“There is no uniform rate in all the ports here in Nigeria, what you will get on a vehicle here in Apapa will be different from what you will get on the same vehicle in Tin-Can. The cost of clearing here in Apapa is higher than any other place. Here in Apapa, they give a very high value than Tin-Can and the problem is from the valuation officers. At Tin-Can it is lower and it is not supposed to be like that, because we all buy from the same market. That is why if an agent in Apapa charges an importer for a container having about three vehicles like, N1.800, 000, if you go to Tin-Can you will clear the same cargo cheaper like with N1.500, 000 and it will come out. So the way they do their work here I don’t understand”

He also said that people have started diverting their cargos out of Apapa due to the high rate of duties charged in Apapa

“So what we are saying is that customs don’t want us to have uniform rate, it is their fault, they are the cause. There is no much cargo coming in here people are now diverting the cargos and the Controller here doesn’t want to do anything about that. The major issue we are having here is the valuation issue people are running away from here”

Mr. Idemili also accused the security officers from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Police of being responsible for the high traffic witnessed in and out of the ports.

“Look at the type of traffic inside the wharf, you won’t blame the terminal operator, AP Muller because it is being regulated from outside. The problem is from the people outside because those security men from NPA and the Police are the problems we are having here. They will be asking as low as N30, 000 from truckers who are not on queue to come inside so the people who have been on the queue from morning will be there without going inside. I don’t see the reason why they will allow someone from back to come inside leaving the people on the queue. So what I am saying in essence is that the traffic we are having here is from outside”

AREFF boss also blamed the high freight rate to the Apapa bad roads.

“Now if you call a trucker to carry something for you, they will add all the days they have been on queue before they will tell you the price.

Before, a 40ft container used to be N150,000, but now it goes as higher as N250, 000 and it all depends on the time. When the road is free it will drop so it is difficult for you to plan in this kind of setting because things are not organised here. You cannot predict the price and it has led to a lot of miscreants going into transporting business. Some will collect money and won’t deliver”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Public relations Officer of the Apapa Area Command of the Nigerian Customs service, Mrs. Nkeiru Nwala, has denied the accusation that rate of cargo clearance is higher in Apapa port than other ports. She said the rate is the same in all the ports.