Managing Director, Cotecna Destination Inspection Services, Mr. Tayo Rabiu has given an insight into why Lagos ports have been faced with congestion, even as he acknowledged that the nation’s seaports have been experiencing an unprecedented increase in cargo throughput.
Giving his opinion on the pile-up of containers in then ports, Mr Rabiu disclosed that the high volume of imports into Nigeria since 2006 coupled with the physical examination that the Customs has been conducting on the containers have combined to slow down the pace of cargo clearance.
The Cotecna boss who spoke to the media in Lagos disclosed that cargo throughput has increased from 292,720 TEUs in 2006 to 507,944 TEUs in 2008 adding that conducting 100 per cent exanimation on such high volume can only cause delay.
Insisting that only the use of modern method can match the rate of importation, Rabiu stressed that “there is no way you can rely on physical examination to do these, its like you have programmed to have congestion, if you don’t make use of technology, as you can see average period of examination for a 40ft container with four men takes about two hours and this is not even examination because you cannot bring out all the things in the containers within two hours.”
He also seized the opportunity of the media chat to introduce the company’s new deputy managing director, Mr Ernest Woka and the new manager in charge of its valuation and classification centre, Mrs. Hester Hopkins.
The new deputy managing director who still retains his portfolio as the general manager, scanning, is expected to bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new capacity as second in command.
But throwing more light on the company’s stand on port congestion, its managing director also added that the e- payment system which was introduced some months ago by the Nigeria Customs Service is contributing to the delays.
According to him, importers do not go to the banks to pay duties until their containers are scanned; a step which according tom him also contribute to the delays. He added that other challenges that the company faces are infrastructural development- related, such as road network, rail link, lack of consistent power supply and others.
On the company’s plan to further improve on its services, the managing director disclosed that the fixed scanning site in Apapa port will be completed by December, while that of Tin Can Island port will be completed by the middle of 2010.
He equally gave assurances that Cotecna is prepared to give its best and also provide the required training to officers of the Nigeria Customs Service ahead of the expiration of its contract tenure when the Customs is expected to take over the responsibility of scanning and other related duties.