•Faults cargo diversion to other ports
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has restated its support of the move by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure that the Eastern Ports are put to optimal use by so doing, decentralising cargo handling process in the country among all the seaports in the country.
They said that they gave the support because they believe that the move will help bring to an end the lingering Apapa gridlock and the reoccurring cargo congestion at the Lagos seaports.
However, President of ANLCA, Hon. Iju Nwabunike who reiterated the position of the association in a news conference in Lagos, noted that the diversion of some ships to the Eastern ports have far reaching economic implication on the importers that could raise the cost goods for the final consumer.
According to him, NPA should discussed with stakeholders before diverting those Lagos bound cargoes to the Eastern ports to reach a position on how to ameliorate the extra cost the importers will incur to bring back their goods to Lagos.
He said: “Before now our position was that government should decentralise cargo business to the Eastern Ports and we have not changed on that, but the diversion of cargo to the Easter ports by NPA has far-reaching cost implication on the consignee and that we think should have called for stakeholders meeting before diverting those Lagos bound cargoes to the Eastern ports.
“NPA has the right to divert cargoes to the Eastern Port, but the consignee, who will suffer when you divert a cargo destined to Apapa to Calabar, who bears the brunt should have been carried along. We want NPA to call for a stakeholders’ meeting.
“The Federal Government should dredge Calabar and Warri ports to make them perform optimally and take the pressure off the Lagos ports and reduce the Apapa gridlock.”
Nwabunike disclosed in a recent meeting the association had with Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, they raised the issue of the partial closure of Nigerian borders which is now over six months old, noting that the group was in support of the border closure but ‘it has caused incalculable hardship on people involved in legitimate trade across the border.”
He disclosed that the number of the goods laden trucks trapped on both sides of the border has risen to 2000, adding that most of the good are rotting away.