PORT REFORM: Freight Forwarders Pass Vote of No Confidence On WACT Terminal.

The gains of the port reform exercise carried out in the country about five years ago may not have had its desired effect at the Onne seaport in Rivers State as a number of freight forwarders operating at the port last week expressed their frustration over the poor services rendered by one of the port concessionaire; West African Container Terminal (WACT).
The freight forwarders also berated the company over its lack of adequate equipment for the handling of containers. They also accused the company of illegal extortion of money from agents and their importers.
Shipping Position Daily correspondent who visited the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) in Onne last week discovered that several of the agents were loitering and complaining about the inability of WACT to meet with the demand of positioning of their containers for physical examination by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Some of the agents who spoke with our correspondent alleged that almost all the equipments at the terminal have broken down and that the company has resulted into hiring of equipment from INTELS; another terminal operator. This according to them has led to the increase in charges by the terminal.
In an interview with our correspondent, one of the agents, Prince Owen Mekwa, complained that the company “appears not to be in a hurry to repair their faulty equipment, because of their intention to defraud agents through demurrage”.  He said that it is regrettable that WACT is rippling - off agents and importers through unmerited demurrage.
“They are ripping - off agents and importers. Between December last year to date, they may have been richer with over N400million in unmerited demurrage charges’, Prince Mekwa, alleged
He said that whenever an importer applies for his container to be dropped the next day, WACT as a result of shortage of container handling equipment gives you one week and again force you to pay for the long waiting period.
Prince Mekwa said that this is a big injustice, noting that importers are now paying for their lapses by the container handling firm which according to him is against the spirit of 48hours cargo clearance policy of the Federal Government.