Our Warehouses Are Filled Up --- Customs
Freight forwarders and Lagosians in general have expressed dissatisfaction as truck laden containers liter streets and major roads in Lagos, thereby making vehicular movement stressful.
Investigations carried out by Shipping Position Daily last week, revealed that almost all the major roads and streets in Apapa have been overtaken by trucks laden with empty containers.
Some of the areas affected by this menace are: Apapa Oshodi expressway, Awodi Ora road in Ajegunle, 2nd Rainbow down to Apple junction, Customs Federal Operations Unit (FOU) zone ‘A’, among others.
A trader, Kizito Alisichukwu, who deal in auto parts at the popular Ladipo market told our correspondent that he finds it difficult these days to go to the market, due to the road, adding that even the market is also congested with containers waiting to discharge and others that were intercepted by customs.
He said going to Berger automobile market on the Apapa Oshodi expressway has been a nightmare for him lately, due to the congested nature of the roads.
“These days, going to buy parts for sale have been a problem for me and even supplying to some customers at Berger due to the congested nature of the roads. I am not too comfortable driving against the traffic from Ladipo to Berger, but I don’t have a choice than to do that because if I don’t I will remain where I am, I won’t go anywhere”, he noted.
Also speaking a clearing agent at Tin Can Island Ports, who gave his name as Mr. Toochukwu Nwaigbo, said he now spent double of what he used to spend on transportation due to the nature of the roads.
“My brother we are gradually getting used to all that, it has been like this for a long time now. A distance that you are supposed to spend like N500, you will end up spending close to N1, 000 due to the bad rods. There is also a high risk involved due to the way the motorcyclists operate on the roads”
Meanwhile the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf blamed this to the issue of multiple checkpoints by customs even as he added that it is also adding to the cost of doing business in the ports.
“Then you come to all these customs with their multiple checkpoints both within and outside the ports, those things cost money. Although we may not be able to say it openly, but it increases cost. So generally we will advocate that there should be a reduction in cost”
It was also observed by our correspondent that at the offices of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, there are some trucks laden with containers that have been there for months now.
Our findings also revealed that although some of the containers are detained, others are there for other offences pending when the issues are resolved.
Reacting to this, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Jerry Attah said that the Customs warehouse is over stretched, adding that some of the containers that are seen on the roads are just on detention.
“The warehouse is over stretched; the trucks that are outside are not permanently there, we do take them inside when there is space. One thing you need to know is that there are two reasons why containers are brought to this place. Once there is information that the items in the container need to be checked. You know once they bring in cargoes they do examinations and after that they know the next line of action. There are some here that will go for outright seizure while there are some that will raise DN after the DN they will take their cargoes while the ones for seizure will be taken straight to the warehouse.”
These are the things there, the ones you see outside are under detention waiting for the examination” he said.