As part of efforts to draw patronage to abandoned eastern ports and ease perennial traffic gridlock in ports of Lagos, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), yesterday announced that vessels calling at Calabar, Rivers and Delta Ports would now enjoy 10 per cent discount on harbour charges.
The measure was taken by the government agency to ensure increased vessels traffic and to increase patronage of the eastern ports which have been idle for many years.
According to the statement signed by NPA General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Jatto Adams, the Authority however listed the types of vessels and cargoes that would enjoy the 10 per cent discount to include container vessels with at least 250 20-foot equivalent units, general cargo vessels with at least 16,000 metric tonnes, combo vessels with at least 16,000 MT, and roll-on-roll-off vessels with at least 250 units of vehicles respectively.
The statement read: “These discounts shall not apply to vessels coming inballast (without any cargo), vessels calling at private jetties, and vessels calling carrying liquid bulk. The application of these discounts will take immediate effect.”
It was however learnt that Federal Government initially put in place 30 per cent incentive to vessels calling at the Eastern ports and it was later removed after the concession of the ports
This somehow shot up freight charges for the ports, more than for vessels calling at the Lagos ports.
Meanwhile, as part of ECOWAS mandates to facilitate trade, Nigeria Customs Service and Benin Republic Customs have commenced inter -connectivity of importers declarations within the two countries.
The new initiative will feature single declaration, deal with corrupt tendencies, reduce cost of doing business, promote trade, prevent revenue losses and curb smuggling across the two countries’ borders.
However, any declarations made for imports within the two counties would be distributed and shared electronically. The project is expected to take off before end of the month after a formal launch.
Speaking at a stakeholders sensitisation forum tagged: “Nigeria-Benin Customs Connectivity for Border Seamless Transactions,” Controller General of Nigeria Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, (retd) who was represented by Assistant Comptroller General in charge of ICT, Benjamin Aber, said single declarations made at either of the countries will be electronically accessible to both jurisdictions, adding that importers do not need to declare a second time during transit.