By Adegboyega Oni
The plan by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to divert vessels within the Lagos Pilotage District and to the Eastern Ports starting from Monday January 27, 2020 to reduce vessel waiting time has been described as a positive development which in the long run will engender cost efficiency and timely release of cargo.
NPA last week stated that vessels which have waited to berth at any terminal within the Lagos Pilotage District will be diverted to other terminals with capacity to berth vessels within the district. It also added that in the event that all terminals in Lagos cannot discharge any vessels within four days, such vessels will be diverted to the Eastern Ports (other pilotage districts) for immediate berthing.
Speaking to PortNews on the development, Mr. Abdulazeez Babatunde, Managing Director, Mickey Excellency Nigeria Limited, said the plan was a positive one and charged NPA to implement the diversion fully since ports in Lagos could not deliver efficient and cost effective ports handling operations.
Mr. Babatunde who is also the National Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) added the looming congestion in the ports was occasioned by shipping companies and terminals operators for their refusal to grant waivers to importers and customs agents on cargo in their possession.
He maintained that such if shipping companies and terminal operators could grant waivers it would spur quick clearance of overtime cargo in their terminals.
‘’It is very well. If the western ports cannot deliver on core mandates of efficient and cost effective ports handling operations, then NPA should do the needful by implementing this new model to the letter which is cost effective in the long run. Moreover both shipping companies and terminal operators are not ready to grant waivers as cost benefit to importers,’’ said Babatunde.
However, NPA said the decision was taken to promote the Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Federal Government and curtail the negative economic impact that the long turnaround time of vessels has on stakeholders.
It added that it will liaise with other relevant government agencies on behalf of stakeholders to expedite the clearance of vessels and cargoes, where necessary.