International shipping line, Maersk, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to ensure that shipping lines delivered enough containers at terminals before transferring to holding bays to reduce cost of doing business.
Maersk Line Shipping Manager, Kike Codjoe, made the plea when the officials of the Nigerian Shippers` Council (NSC) visited the company’s office in Lagos.
“Since the directive by the Nigerian Ports Authority in February/March, we have still not seen an increase of containers being returned to the holding bays.
“As a matter of fact, we see that truckers continue to take empty containers directly to the ports.
“The truckers are doing so in order to bring out containers loaded with goods due to shortage of trucks and shunting movement of trucks can lead to increase in demand and cost.
“When we are talking about returning of containers to holding bays, the cost of shunting and transfer of containers back to the terminals will have multiplier effects on the customers,“ Codjoe said.
She said that the directive had involved so many movements which had also resulted to congestion on the ports access road, adding that if containers were being stored at the holding bays, the vessel would be sailing out hitch-free.
Codjoe said that there was the need to ensure that enough empty containers were available at the terminals to sail out.
In his response, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that there should be proper structure on compliance with the government’s directive which would create more space for incoming cargo.
“The Federal Government is coming up with a review of container regime to make the shipping operation easier for both the government and the shipping lines operators,” Bello said.
The NPA had directed shipping companies to house their trucks in holding bays outside the ports for effective management of traffic in Apapa area of Lagos
The Authority had on Nov. 23, 2017, directed all shipping companies to keep their empty trucks at holding bays outside the port location, pending the time for loading.
NPA said that it would advertise for the licensing of trailer parks as a way of creating holding bay facilities for truckers
In line with the NPA’s directive, shipping companies are expected to have holding bays where their empty containers could be kept while waiting to be taken into the terminals.
The President, Shippers’ Association, Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said holding bay was a major requirement for shipping companies.
According to him, most of the containers in in Nigeria are in bad shape and could no longer be returned to Europe.
Nicol said the containers were bought at cheap prices and used to ship goods to Nigeria where they were later dumped, adding that Nigeria is not a dumping ground for containers.
“Now that there is no space in the port for these containers, the shipping firms need to get holding bays and if they don’t have, they should hire,” Nicol had said in an interview.