Usman Sanusi (President, NAGAFF)
Diversion of ships is as a result of the current congestion which can be likened to an emergency. Diversion to the East is a panicky measure, apart from further increasing costs of shipments, it will compound the woes of the manufacturing sector; particularly, industries based in the South West. They will suffer additionally longer delays on getting their raw materials.
Apart from the need to increase port capacity in Lagos area in the long run, there is now a need to look critically at the charges of terminal operators, bonded terminals and shipping companies. Some of these charges are not only frivolous, exploitative and irrelevant; they defy any existing economic justification.
Existing scenario is that shipping company and terminal charges, inclusive of demurrage charges far surpasses the actual cost of the goods and Customs duty combined.
Little wonder importers are reluctant to come out to clear their goods. Government should act now so that Lagos ports can come alive again.
Enyeribe Anyanwu (Maritime Journalist)
Diversion of ship to any destination other than its original destination is not right anywhere. The law is against that. The ship owners and cargo owner have the right to resist that.
Who bears the extra cost? For the fact that the practice is not workable, ship owners or shipping companies can only be wooed to route their shipments to the desired destination.
Akadiri Francis (Clearing Agent)
It’s workable. When we are talking of port operations, the Customs (at times) have the final say. All the bonded terminals are registered and licensed by the Customs and their major function is to effect delivery within 48hours and in line with the directives of the CG of customs.
To achieve that, certain rights of the importers may be tampered with as long as it is not going to increase costs. As you are aware that many factories are closing down due to lack of raw materials because they couldn’t clear their goods.
If goods are taken to any port in the East, it will boost delivery rather than closing their factory with the effect of huge demurrage being charged by the shipping companies and terminal operators.
The cost of local transportation is even more than that of up- country due to the present congestion in the ports.
Customs at the Eastern parts will have the opportunity of being very productive. It will also boost business activities in that area.
Aboderin Phillips (Civil Servant)
Sincerely I don’t think its right, because the importer has already given the ship owners the port of destination, and for no reason should it be changed because it’s on the bill of laden already.
Come to think of the inconveniences and the extra cost that the importer incurs bringing containers from say; Onne to Lagos. All these costs will be transferred to the final consumer of the goods in question. Consequently, a good that is worth N10 will now be sold for N30, thereby making the buyer to pay for the inconveniences that are caused by NPA; all because it wants to decongest Lagos ports.
On a final note, it’s not workable, we don’t have to make others weep or lament because we want to provide business opportunity for ports in the eastern part of Nigeria.
Akanni Balogun (Clearing Agent)
Its not the first time something like this is happening, it has happened before; in the 1990’s, but this time under the shipping agreement, that is if a consignee wanted his container in Lagos. Except when there is war, NPA has no right to transfer ships, because it incurs cost and the final consumer suffers it.
Bringing containers out from the ports in Lagos is not an easy task, not to talk of bringing them from eastern ports. Our roads are bad and safety of cargo can not be guaranteed.
In a nutshell, am not in support, its part of our inefficiency that caused this diversion idea and all these are part of the reasons why the withdrawal of service came up some weeks ago, if empty containers at some terminals like TICT are cleared, the ports will be decongested.
Oluwole Onasanya (Clearing Agent)
It depends on the agreement of the chatterer of the vessel and its importer to decide if the ship should be diverted or not.
We had influx of vessels before the arrival of concessionaires and NPA handled them , why should it be now that the ports are concessioned that they are having congestion problems.
The idea is not a welcome one, except they are willing to compensate the importer. The roads to the location of some of these ports are bad, we don’t have rail facilities and security network in Nigeria is nothing to write home about, so how effective will the diversion be?
Okoro Peters (Public Servant)
The issue of diversion cannot work without the consent of the importer.
Before the reforms, the ports had a similar experience and a solution was sought then. The shipping companies, terminal operators and of course our government are the major causes of what we are facing in the ports, but if the ships must be diverted to eastern ports what are the provision on ground for the importer who is meant to take his container from Tin Can to (for instance) Badagry before it was moved to Onne?
The inconveniences and the cost incurred on the container in question should be considered, as well as the issue of bad roads and insecurity of the cargo while bringing it to Lagos.
All these should be put into consideration if the idea of diversion must work