Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) has said that not less than 800 trucks laden with empty containers are usually queuing up and seeking entrance into the ports in Lagos, namely Apapa and Tin Can Island Port, but lamented that they could not gain entrance.
In a press statement issued by the President of SALS, Rev. Jonathan Nicole, the association also frowned at the planned introduction of port congestion charge by CMA CGM, one of the shipping companies in Nigeria.
He said that a total of 800 containers are cleared out daily from the various ports, he however lamented that 800 containers do not have access to the Ports to offload their empty boxes as required.
Nicole advocated that rather than impose a congestion surcharge on shippers, a 'Congestion Fee' should be slammed on to the Shipping Lines and their subsidiaries, the Terminal Operators who receives the empty containers on behalf of the Shipping Company.
He said the empty Containers are the property of the Shipping Lines who normally collects container deposits for their boxes in transit.
He said the SALS may press charges on Shippers Council, Shipping Lines, and the Truckers.
"It is believed that at least a thousand empty containers should be exported daily since over 800 full loaded containers are delivered to various consignees daily. Shippers' Association Lagos State is worried and do not want to press charges on all the Port regulators"
"We have read from online Report that Messrs CGM CMA has introduced $400 dollars for congestion fee per consignment in addition to all other charges now in contest"
While lamenting the suffering Shippers go through at the ports Rev. Nicole said SALS view the new charge as arbitrary, unfair and indeed lack economic sense since the congestion mentioned above is not caused by Importers and Shippers, respectively.
He further explained that, "it is our view that container laden trucks littering the city of Lagos and causing security risks to life and property should be viewed more seriously by the Port Regulator; the Nigerian Shippers' Council and the Nigerian Ports Authority"
"The menace of the empty containers on trucks on our highways and suburbs have not only become a nuisance but has posed a terrible security risks on residents along the routes in question"
"The empty Containers are the property of the Shipping Lines who normally collects container deposits for their boxes in transit. On prompt return of the empty containers, the Importer can claim back his deposit. It is a known fact that empty containers do not have access to the Ports with ease as before. And this is a riddle"
"A total of 800 containers are cleared daily from the various ports. How did the trucks get into the Ports? Why can't the trucks carrying more than 800 containers daily have access to the Ports to offload their empty boxes?
"Why should the Importer pay additional fee to offload the property of the Shipping Company in their premises again when all charges have been paid in advance?"
Rev Nicole assured that Shippers Association Lagos State will partner with other stakeholders hold the Port Regulators, Nigeria Shippers Council responsible for their inability to induce sanity in the dispensation of their Normal duties.