Francis Omotosho (Consultant)
The sanction imposed on Maersk shipping Nigeria and other shipping Lines is in order. The fact remains that “foreigners don't invest in land in foreign land", especially foreign companies involved in maritime businesses. The basic prerequisite for any cargo carrier on sea coming to the shore for offloading at any seaport or terminal in any country all over the world is the availability of land to stack-hold the imported empty boxes even for a short time of not more than 90 days; What it implies is that the container has just 90 days to stay at the country of discharge.
If a container stayed more than this period even right inside their own privately owned holding bay, the customs of the land has right to charge duty on the empty containers. Nigerians can no longer be subjected to this suffering by foreign shipping lines; this can never happen in their own country, you can never see empty containers littering their major highways and streets. Nevertheless, one thing is certain, shipping is an international business governed by the same general maritime rules and customs conventions. They are well guided in their own countries by the general shipping rules.
Sunny Nnebe (Chairman, IFFA at PTML)
The sanction is a welcomed development, for now, it does not solve the problem but the affected companies will now know how serious the nation is about having a holding bay. The holding bay for containers is very necessary and urgent as it helps to alleviate the horrendous traffic on our port roads. The NPA needed bigger and more urgent sanction that will compel the affected companies to comply.
Joel Nwosu (Director General, ANLCA)
The port is already congested as it were, so wielding the big stick to make all concerned parties to fall in line is deemed quite appropriate under the prevailing circumstance.
Dr. Okpara Ogu (Special Adviser to ANLCA President)
Total sanction of the shipping companies will make others to sit up. I am in total support of the NPA’s action on this, we have been taken for a ride for so long and I wish the government will allow the measure to stand for others to take precautions. The congestion we now experience along Apapa-Oshodi expressway as a result of this sanction will bring a positive result to the practitioners in the long run.
Frank Aliakor (Licensed Customs Agent)
The decision to sanction Maersk Line and other shipping companies will solve the congestion in the port because it has been long that the Nigerian Ports Authority told the shipping companies to provide holding bays in order to ease the traffic on port access road. Not only the three shipping companies, there are other ones that should be stopped from operation until they have met the requirement by the NPA.
Mr. Frank Ukor (Founder, AREFFN)
Of course, it will reduce congestion if the shipping companies procure holding bays where they can put their empty containers, it will definitely decongest the roads and the ports because trailers will not be on the road except when they are called. But it is because they don’t have where to put their empty containers, that is why you see them on the road always causing unnecessary traffic. Let all the shipping companies have their holding bays where they park their trailers with their empty containers.
Nnadi Ugochukwu (NAGAFF Chieftain)
The sanction is in order and it will help to address port congestion, because Maersk line is very disobedient, they don’t obey orders, and they feel Nigeria is now a Banana Republic where they can do anything. So the decision is in order.
Mr. Jones Idemili (Apapa Chariman, AREFFN)
Well, it is a very good step in the right direction; it would help because they just neglected the issue of having that holding bay for containers. All the efforts we made to ensure they have it, I don’t see them doing anything in that regards. They are becoming very adamant, I mean the Maersk line; so what the NPA did is in the right direction. Those empty trucks here are causing a lot of traffic.
Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim (NAGAFF member)
If the government should hold the shipping companies responsible to provide holding bays, it will help in addressing the issue of ports congestion. Before any shipping company is allowed to operate in the country, they have already signed with the federal government that they will have a holding bay; the meaning of a holding bay is that they have a warehouse outside the ports. So when you come back with the empty you don’t need to come to Apapa, you go straight to the holding bay and drop the empty container and the truck will go and park. So when you see trucks going with containers to the ports, they are going there to load.