Stakeholders in the maritime sector have condemned terminal operator; Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT) and its holding bays, for demanding as much as N30,000 from truck drivers before accepting empty containers into the holding bays and their terminal at Tin Can Port.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had recently issued a directive that all shipping companies must provide a holding bay for their empty containers, a directive which has been largely violated by majority of the shipping companies.
Vice Chairman of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Island Port, Chief Mike Ossy confirmed to Shipping Position Daily last week that TICT, despite being a port terminal, was designated by a shipping company as its holding bay to receive empty containers.
Ossy said that one of the operational challenges confronting the operators is that TICT now demands N30,000 before allowing any truck driver to drop empty containers.
Our correspondent learnt that the anomaly has been brought to the attention of the NPA and this had led to the entrance of TICT being barricaded by armed security personnel who prevented truckers from assessing the terminal early last week.
Apparently fed-up with the situation and how it was affecting his members, the ANLCA Vice Chairman said that “TICT is like a harbour, a terminal on its own, but then people are returning empties here, they gave us some numbers, ones you get to the gate they will tell you it is filled up, so you start giving bribe to TICT again before you can be able to drop your container”
“We continued talking about the holding bays, most of the shipping companies will tell you they have a holding bay, but they are not accessible, they do not have the equipment to ginger the transporters to go there and drop containers as easy as possible and come out”
Also confirming the situation to Shipping Position Daily, Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi said that it is not only TICT that is involved in the N30,000 bribe demand. According to him, all the shipping companies are involved.
“It all depends on the power of bargaining, sometimes they demand N30,000, N20,000, or N25,000, it all depends on the power of bargaining”
“There are some situations where the owners of the containers on their own would volunteer to pay this money so that they can quickly go and pick another cargo, they are the ones laying foundation for the corruption and the holding bays are now capitalizing on this to extort truckers”