There is an indication that importers using ports in Lagos may forfeit no fewer than 5,000 containers to government as overtime cargoes.
Cargoes become overtime when they are not cleared with the statutory period of 28 days.
The containers have been wasting away in some terminals at Tincan and Lagos ports for various offences.
Already, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had said it would commence the movement of the overtime cargoes from the Ports and Terminal Multi-service Limited (PTML) at Tincan Port this week to Ikorodu Lighter Terminal.
Some of the overtime cargoes were part of the 5,000 containers that have congested the ports in the last five months because of the discrepancies and fraud discovered by the service.
It was gathered that customs agents had been clearing goods with Form M, Bill of Laden and Pre- Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), which carry different names from that of the consignees.
The discovery led to detention of thousands of containers at the ports in Lagos and Tincan Island at the instance of Customs Comptroller General’s directive since January, 2019.
Customs had complained that agents had been clearing goods with Form M, Bill of Laden and Pre- Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), which carried different names from that of the consignees.
The service had classified them as third party containers having discovered that the information provided in the clearing documents were not the same with the names of importers.
He further directed all area controllers to suspend the release of any cargoes with discrepancies in their documentation.
Troubled by the volume of overtime containers littering the ports, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee (PEBEC) said at a closed door meeting in Lagos that it may soon begin auctioning of the overtime cargoes at Lagos ports.
It was learnt that the decision to transfer the container out of PTML was part of its ongoing efforts to create conducive business environment for trade facilitation.
Its Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), explained at an interactive session with freight forwarders at the National Approved Government Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Headquarters in Lagos that the overtime cargoes would be moved to Ikorodu Lighter Terminal (ILT).
He stressed that the ports no longer had the traditional government warehouses for such cargoes.
Ali, who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Zone A, Kaycee Ekekezie faulted the shipping companies for their failures to provide holding bays for empty containers.
He said that Customs would force shipping companies to start paying for empty containers if the refuse carry them.
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