We are deep in the rainy season now. For over a week rain has been falling heavily and has created a lull in all economic sectors of the country particularly in Lagos.
Affected most is the seaport sector as cargo operations are at a low ebb in all the nation’s seaports particularly those in Lagos.
Officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service could not carry out cargo examination as it should be as most of the examination bays are waterlogged and difficult to access. Apart from this, paper work could not be done in the rain. In view of this, only a few containers are being examined and released by customs officers who dare the rain.
Terminal operators are being disturbed by the rain to discharge cargo from vessels speedily as most of the berth sides are slippery and thus reduces the rate of movement of cranes from ship sides to storage facility.
As thing stands, a lot of importers are incurring heavy demurrage.
Some customs agents who spoke to PortNews on the development noted that the rain has really disturbed them from leaving offices for the ports to clear their cargo. They said that those who dared the rain were not attended to by many customs officers and maintained that their cargoes are incurring demurrage which, they said, terminal operators would never waive for them.
The situation at JPS Terminal at Tincan Island Port is pitiable. Many of the cargoes, particularly plywood and other wood products, are stored in the opened are badly wet by rain waters. PortNews gathered that storage facility in the terminal is filled up and thus necessitate open storage of cargo by the management.
Although the cargoes are covered with JPS branded tarpaulins but wind blows off the tarpaulins and exposes the cargo to rain. As a result of this, algae are speedily growing on them. An information source within the terminal told PortNews that the terminal management is deeply touched by the situation and is working speedily to improving the situation.
A customs agent working at JPS Terminal averred that his importer’s cargo stored in the open is badly wetted by the rain water and some of the plywood are damaged. He charged management of the terminal to provide more storage facility to avoid storing cargo in the open particularly during rainy season.