By Stephen Ubanna
For years, Importers with their clearing agents have been undergoing pains in taking delivery of their cargoes at Apapa, the nation’s premier port
This may have reflected on the revenue generation of the Authority that Hadiza Bala Usman the
As a prelude to reducing the financial burden and encourage importers who had relocated to other ports in the sub region, on Tuesday, December 28, to return , Usman, the NPA , boss, was said to have approved an increase in ”rent-free period for cargoes warehoused at the terminals from the current period of three days before the commencement of the rent charges to 21 days. This, according to an the Authority source was before the commencement of the new rent charges for a period of four months.
The NPA Managing Director, was also said to have given a matching order to the shipping companies to quickly deploy sweeper vessels to evacuate the empty Containers that had been returned by the importers’ agents from the port to ”clear the backlog of empty Containers littering the country within four months”. it was learnt that the NPA Chief Executive had encouraged the use of Onne port in the oil rich Rivers state for the use of such sweeper vessels.
Despite the plot by officials of the shipping companies, which are mostly foreign owned to sabotage directive, the NPA Chief Executive stood his ground that the companies had no option but to comply. Determined o decongest the ports of overtime cargoes
She was said to have made it clear to Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS, and the importers that the ”ports are meant to be a transit and not storage facilities”. An aggrieved
She also had a word of the terminal operators who were said to be part of the problem at the ports. Appealing to them to negotiate with importers and their agents and grant them waivers to facilitate the evacuation of these cargoes, she declared that ”it was the only way to mitigate against auctioning which will result in total loss of revenue by the terminal operator and the loss of cargo by the importer.
The Authority sources told The Value News that these were emergency measures taken to reduce the ”financial burden of congestion on citizens as President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Proceeds to permanently resolve the congestion problems at the seaports through the reconstruction of the port access road, the provision of trailer park and holding bays with e-call -up system. and the enhancement of cargo evacuation using rail transportation and Inland Water Ways with Barges among others. The Value News cited one
Admitted that the new policy measures favours importers with their agents, the Authority management may not have wanted to wrong the shipping companies and the terminal operators , as it was said to have assured them of” plans to consider a major shift in operational cargoes to ameliorate the situation of stakeholders.