The Organised Private Sector (OPS) has lampooned the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) over the recent suspension of export cargoes from the ports for 10 days.
The OPS described the suspension as unnecessary, even as they said the lost accrued due to the suspension runs into millions of naira.
They also stressed that the electronic call-up arrangement is frustrating exporters.
In a chat with our correspondent, the Director General Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf noted that the suspension of export cargoes for over 10 days was unnecessary, adding that the action taken by NPA shouldn’t have been.
He said: “I don’t think that the suspension is a good way to treat an export cargo, logistically it is too clumsy for them and the nature of the goods they are carrying should not be subjected to that kind of a thing. If it was an empty truck going inside the port to pick containers, that is different but in this case these are trucks that are already being loaded maybe from Agbara and they drove down to Ojota to stay for about five days and also spend like three days before eventually being called up to the port.
“That arrangement is a major frustration for exporters, then the shipping companies I don’t know whether they have complied now, this idea of moving empty containers into the port with truck is not something that is compatible with this arrangement that they are trying to make. Shipping companies should have holding bay, once people pick their containers they should go and drop it in their holding bay, then shipping companies can arrange to go and pick.
“Because the empty containers are creating problems on the road, because they queue with people going to pick cargo, also they cause problem of space in the port, as a result of this there is no space for very important cargo going into the port especially export cargoes
“The loss for the 10 days was huge; first, the export cargoes may not be accepted because of the quality that may have dropped by the time it gets to its destination, the risk of being rejected or being discounted in value is very high, secondly some of them had even contracted trucks, that within three days these things would be moved and taken into the ports and all those now, they have to wait for three weeks which is at extra cost.
“All these contractual obligations have cost implication, some of them have borrowed money to execute these things and they have concluded that within a month to two, the transaction would have been completed but with the suspension the transaction cycle has been further elongated, and the cost of fund would also increase because you are not able to complete the transaction and pay back the money on time.
“Then, there is also the risk of losing the contract completely. If you have a contract with a stipulated time to pay back and it failed, so the suspension should have been avoided because in that kind of situation people need some notice to minimize the loss. And they have to even delay people who are in the import area, because not many of them are carrying perishable goods.
“In fact, the whole idea was to decongest the place, I also learnt there were some issues in some terminals that time, I don’t have the full details about that as it was becoming difficult to load the export cargo and they suddenly just announced that they are suspending exports cargoes for three weeks. So I believe realizing that this is not good enough they had to cut the suspension”, he said.
Also speaking to our correspondent, the Vice President Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Mr John Aluya, stated that the suspension was not necessary, even as he stated that the suspension brought about a huge loss to a country that needs foreign exchange to survive.
“I don’t think the suspension was necessary in the first place, because the challenges have to do with first the poor access road to the port, which is creating a big problem. Suspending export will not fix the infrastructure, the right thing to do is to think of how to fix the infrastructure and exporters and importers can take their cargoes in and out without any hindrance, the suspension is going to cost a huge sum of money to exporters, mark you, export goods have timeline, quality control must be adhered to, when you delay them for extra two weeks; those two weeks alone could lead to the products falling out of standard, so this kind of decision is not the best way to solve the issue of congestion in the port. “The lost is huge; it’s a huge loss to a country that needs foreign exchange to survive”, he said.