The Founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam has dismissed the reported claim by the Country Manager of APM Apapa Terminal, Mr. Klaus Lanrsen that Freight Forwarders are to blame for the return of cargo congestion in the Apapa Ports.
Mr. Laursen was reported to have during his courtesy visit to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Executive Secretary/ CEO, Barr. Hassan Bello on Wednesday alleged that Freight Forwarders were not coming forward to pick up their containers from the terminal as required; a development he said was responsible for the fresh build up of cargo in the port.
But reacting to the allegation during an interview with some maritime journalist in Apapa, Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Aniebonam said that the new APMT boss has started on a wrong footing by making what he described as ‘a wide claim’ on a subject he has very little understanding about.
“He is still new and does nt yet understand the workings of the Nigerian ports and he should have studied the workings of the Nigerian maritime industry, pay courtesy visits to NAGAFF and ANLCA, before making such unguided statement.”
He further said that the Nigerian port system has collapse, even as nothing is working in the ports.
According to Dr Aniebonam, the system collapse is causing a lot of hardship to the freight forwarders without an end in sight.
He accused the Terminal operators and Shipping companies of frustrating stakeholders and that nobody seem to be regulating them.
He however commended the NSC for all its efforts, but said they need to start to apply their power of enforcement.
The APMT, Country Manager, Mr. Klaus Laursen had during his visit to NSC, while responding to the worries by the Shippers Council boss on the Congestion in the Ports said: “Congestion at the terminal is due to freight forwarders not coming forward to clear their containers.”
He said this has contributed in no small way to the build-up of ships on Nigeria’s territorial waters.”
On automation of the port system, Mr. Laursen said APMT plans to optimize haulage at its terminal by implementing an electronic platform for truck management.
He said discussions on this are ongoing with Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
He added that the terminal issues, Terminal Delivery Orders (TDO) online payments, invoicing and a range of other services are also available online so that Freight Forwarders don’t need to be physically present at their terminal to make payments.
With regard to export cargo, Laursen said Exporters need to have all their documentations including Customs clearance before accessing the terminal.
He suggested that the Nigeria Railway Corporation advertise its services in order to increase patronage.
APMT is the biggest terminal is the largest terminal in the West African sub-region having taken over the Apapa Container terminal during the ports concession in Nigeria.