'We Only Stop Unlicensed Operators'--- NPA
Freight forwarders under the auspices of the Association of Concerned Freight Forwarders and Logistics (ACFFL) have accused the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and AP Moller Terminal (APMT) of frustrating carriage of cargoes out of the ports by the use of barges.
The Chairman of the group, Chief Andy Best Omenogor who said this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Apapa, however said freight forwarders mow pay a minimum of N200,000 to carry cargoes from Mile 2 or Ido to Apapa.
He alleged that lack of cargo handling equipment by APMT is also making things difficult for operators, especially in Apapa.
Lamenting their plight, he said: "Now people who have been assessing the ports through badges, NPA, APMT and the Police have barricaded them, we can't even use barges again. Now, we paid at least N200, 000 to be able to use barges to ferry our cargoes from Ido or Mile 2 to APMT in Apapa"
Omenogor maintained that the persistent gridlock experienced on the Apapa ports access roads has nothing to do with the poor state of the roads.
"The problem we are having is not because the roads to the ports are bad, the cause of the problem is that the NPA has refused to do their work, even the APMT has also refused to buy equipment to work"
"It is not because the roads are bad it is because APMT have refused to do their jobs because they want to extort Nigerians", he alleged.
He said that there are containers that have been at the ports for months with no means of taking them out of the ports.
“We have containers over three months that people can’t load and we are now hearing that the customs want to start auctioning overtime cargoes"
"APMT has no equipment, other government agencies are not doing anything, they just stationed army personnel there to make movement difficult", he stressed.
But, reacting to the allegations, the Head of Corporate and Strategic Communication of NPA, Mr Adams Jatto stated that some of the barge operators are not licensed.
"NPA could not have frustrated any barge operator, since we championed the use of barges to reduce pressure on the roads and the gridlock along the port access roads. It should be noted that all barge operators lifting containers from the ports are expected to be licensed. Terminal operators are not expected to load barges that are not licensed", explained.
Jatto maintained that unlicensed operators won't be allowed to enter the channel to pick up cargoes.
"The procedure for licensing is very detailed and some operators do not have what it takes to meet the requirements as such are involved in illegal operations with risk along the channel. So the illegal operators will not be allowed to enter the channel to pick or drop containers for barge operation" he concluded.