Shippers’ Council Urges NPA To Implement $40million Port Access Project       

L-R: Maritime Journalist; Mr Ray Ugochukwu, Deputy Director, Special Duties, Nigerian Shippers Council; Mrs Adaku Okam, Director, Special Duties, Nigerian Shippers' Council, Mr Ignatius Nweke, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Compliance; Chief Cajetan Agu, during the seminar for maritime journalist which held Last week in Lagos. 

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to implement the report of a $40million Intelligent Traffic Management Study which the Council carried out recently as part of her interventions to end the traffic gridlock within the Lagos Logistic Line. 

The Deputy Director, Compliance Monitoring at the Council, Chief Cajethan Agu who disclosed this while delivering a lecture titled, “Nigerian Shippers’ Council as an Interventionist Agency in the Nigeria maritime industry ’, at a one day training seminar for maritime journalists in Lagos at the weekend, said that the Council employed the services of a consultant, National Freights and International Transformation Hub (NAFITH) to carry out the study.

Agu said the report was presented to the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi who later asked Council to hand over the project to NPA for implementation.

While underscoring the importance of the project, he said the project would generate 600 direct employment and 1000 indirect employment and an assurance of gridlock disappearing from Apapa in six months, with more revenue to truckers and the government.

"What Shippers’ Council did was to employ the services of a World Bank Consultant; National Freights and International Transformation Hub (NAFITH). The study was carried out within one year and it came up with the Lagos Logistics rig which spans from Apapa to Ijora, Orile, Mile 2 down to Apapa again. Within this rig, we have two international seaports, Tincan and Apapa; we have 27 tank farms and other logistics facilities.

From the study, we deduced that 7,000 trucks traverse the rig, but on daily basis the number of trucks handled by the two seaports and 27 tank farms are less than 2,500 trucks", he disclosed.

He said as a result of the study, the intelligent  traffic management system was developed to handle the gridlock and that all the ports and tank farms should have electronic gates and establishment of a truck and tankers village, so that only the ones that have business to do at the seaports would be allowed into the area.

Agu however lamented that since it was agreed that NPA should implement the project, the agency has not done so. 

He also told journalists that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has recovered monies amounting to over N80 million from shipping companies between January and June 2018.

According to him, $23, 000 was recovered from COSCO Shipping alone.

Agu informed that the said money which was recovered from demurrages, storage charges, excessive charges and others illegal collections had since been returned to their owners.

Giving details, he explained that,  “between January and now, we have got up to N80 million. If you translate the $23 thousand Dollars that COSCO paid, it’s up to N10 million and don’t forget, we carried enforcement at GAC, there was a refund because almost 30 containers which were held captive were released. Then there is even another one again with same COSCO, the demurrage waivers and other interventions. It’s only the Company CEO that will give you the breakdown, but I know that between January and June, we got a refund amounting to more than N80 million.

“It is not only from demurrages, even storage charge and some were recovered from excessive charges that were imposed on the consignees”“They were given back to the owners, although in the case of COSCO, they sent the cheque to us and we handed over the cheque to them (the shippers). How can somebody make a complaint and you can trace him? The meeting we do is normally tripartite meeting, when you complain, we look at your case, if it is genuine, then we invite you and we invite the person that you made the complaint against”.

Earlier in his opening speech,  the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello noted that the one day training for maritime journalists was put together in order to bring the journalists together so as to offer them a platform to interact with the Council which would in turn enable them to understand where the Council was and where it needed to be.

Bello who was represented by the Director Special Duties of the Council, Mr. Ignatius Nweke appreciated the journalists for keeping the Council and indeed the Nigerian maritime industry on their toes, even as he described the media as critical stakeholder in the industry, adding that the industry cannot do without the media.