Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL) has expressed concern over scarcity of empty containers for bringing cargoes into the country.
Jonathan Nicol, president of SAL, disclosed this in an interview in Lagos, yesterday.
According to him, some cargoes are currently “trapped” in China because of the development. He noted that Nigeria has over 10,000 idle containers that are of no use because they cannot be transported to China and Europe to bring in cargoes.
“Industries suffer more because of what most of their materials pass through before they are taken out of the port. Also, erratic power supply leads to dependence on generators, and this requires a lot of money.
“The Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) system of Customs, which is supposed to be an advisory document that has credibility, is unfortunately, not working effectively,” he said.
Nicol stated that for government to reap benefits from the sector, it must look into maritime problems and proffer lasting solutions to them.
He said if the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) could generate about N2 trillion, agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) could equally generate huge sums.
“We feel we should have been able to do more to support the government but the challenges are enormous. Sometimes, we wonder if the country cares because the bills we pay are enormous.
“This is in spite of the fact that we try as much as possible to cooperate with government regulations and keep up with expectations of the government,” he said.
Nicol said shippers also expect government to reciprocate their efforts, as there are no palliatives for shippers in the country.
He explained that shippers pay too many bills. According to him, they now spend about N200,000 where previously they spent just N10,000.
He further decried the slow pace of construction work going on at the Westminster-Tin Can Island Road, saying: “The bad road makes our goods fall off trucks, and this is a big challenge for shippers because their goods are not guaranteed.”Follow us on social media