National President, Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS), Capt.Anthony Onoharigho, has called on the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) to invoke laws that would ensure empty containers were discharged from the ports.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday, the president said the measure would reduce the nuisance caused by empty containers that flooded the Lagos Ports.
“These containers are meant for individuals who are shippers. The vessels that bring them, come in with goods and are supposed to take them back with goods.”
“But if there are no goods to carry, the containers should be removed from the ports immediately so, as not to constitute nuisance.
“The NPA has a constitutional way of handling cargo with the understanding, arrangement and agreement between them and port terminal operators.
“They can also invoke that part of the law to discharge the containers from the port,” Onoharigho said.
He pointed out that there were also other alternative means of removing the containers, if owners did not want to do so.
He explained that it could be by auctioning, giving out to individuals who wished to make use of them or any other means government deemed fit to dispose of them.
The NIS president said that as regards holding bays, if ship owners wanted to have stacking spots for the containers, NPA should release the containers for them and reduce the nuisance it was causing in the port.
“This issue of empty container has been on for a long time and the shippers council and the NPA are responsible for goods and containers’ transit from one place to another.
“There is a stacking place in Apapa and if individual ship owners who export cargoes want to get a stacking place of their own, they can do that in Apapa,” he said.
NAN reports that in November 2019, the Presidential Task Team (PTT) on the Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa called on the Federal Government to declare a national emergency on empty containers handling at the Lagos ports.
The team urged the Federal Government to give 30 to 60 days moratorium to ease the pressure and nuisance caused by empty containers at the ports.