Thousands of Containers Trapped In APMT,Others
By Okezie Nnadi
There are indications that over 9000 Containers of cars and other items have been abandoned to rot at the APM Terminal while government Warehouse meant to receive this category of cargo is almost empty.
Speaking with the National Coordinator, 100 Percent Compliance, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, (Nagaff) Alh. Ibrahim Tanko in Apapa Thursday, he alleged that there are so many overtime cargoes in the port and terminals deliberately not being moved to government Warehouse, taking up spaces in the ports while the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA is complaining of lack of space. ” Why are they not being moved, why are these terminals holding unto these Cargoes and complaining of lack of space, the overtime cargoes must be released to government Warehouse,” Tanko said.
Meanwhile, an anonymous source spoken to confirmed that the APMT alone is keeping over 9000 overtime Containers of Cars and other goods in the terminal, while they complain of lack of space but are comfortable storing overtime cargoes. “Why are they not willing to transfer them to government Warehouse, they give all manner of excuses when prompted to transfer these Cargoes, they complain about lack of barges and others.”
Continuing, our source alleged that there are vested interests at APMT which makes them think they are larger than life itself, refusing to obey regulatory Authorities and rules of engagement. This can only happen in Nigeria,” the source lamented.
Furthermore, Tanko spoke on the Shippers’Council brokered peace between Freight Forwarders and Terminal Operators, which led to a reduction of charges from 600 percent increment down to 400 percent.
“From all indications, it was a remarkable achievement. Even though we didn’t get all we wanted but we got a 400 percent, a reduction from the 600 percent which was almost forced down our throats, half bread is better than nothing; 400 percent, 3-5 days waiver and the container must be there before the 5 days starts counting. We also were able to extract from them that the debit Note is reversible and for those who paid before this reduction, they must be re-funded.”
However, Tanko said that he has not confirmed if STOAN has started implementing the said reduction as at Wednesday, ” if we notice that they are not implementing, we shall take our protest terminal by terminal to ensure that we get it done.”
Also, Tanko noted that some Freight Forwarders do not agree to this reduction, as they feel it is not enough but he appealed to all of them to give peace a chance and thrust the leaders to ensure that their interests are protected. ” I want to appeal to some of our members who feel we didn’t get it right to understand that for 11years, the Terminal Operators have not increased these changes, things have changed, the cost of doing business has gone up, forex, the exchange rate is killing everyone, therefore I think there is need for some increment to also help cushion the effect of these changes,” Tanko stated.
He went on to say, that the issue of demurrage is what is stifling our businesses, “that is why we appealed for a 5 day window, let’s start from somewhere as negotiations progress. We did this in the best interest of all, everyone has the right to say what they want but someone has to push it through, it took us to do this and I know how much effort we put in and no matter what, we deserve a part on the back, thank you is not too much, they should understand with us,” he pleaded.
On if the sack of Bar. Emmanuel Jime and the subsequent announcement of a new Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer for the Nigerian Shippers’Council will negatively affect the negotiation. Tanko said,” the ES lost his job yesterday and a new one appointed in his place. Well it is “Soldier go, Soldier come” and you know what they say, barracks remain. It is a continuous process, so long as governance is concerned, it is Shippers’Council and no matter who sits there, it will be implemented, so long as he’s a Nigerian with the interest of Nigerians. I believe he was brought in to assuage the situation and not to aggravate it,” He enthused.