Poor port road:  Customs agents urge FG to build truck holding bay with 7% port fee

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APAPA

…wants role of NPA redefined by NASS

The Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, CMDLCA, has called on the Federal Government to build truck holding bays and truck terminals in order to rid the port access roads of trucks and trailers, which have become a menace to the ports in Lagos and their neighbouring communities.

National President of CMDLCA, Lucky Eyis Amiwero while presenting a paper during a talk shop entitled, “The Prospects and Challenges of Logistics Service as the Live Wire of the Maritime Industry,” at the International Press Centre of the Nigerian Maritime Reporters Association (MARAN), Apapa, Lagos said the port in Apapa cannot be accessed by port users due to poor access roads.

Amiwero also sought redefinition of the roles of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, in the face of dire need of port and logistics infrastructure, especially access roads to ports.

He identified traffic gridlock on port access road, breakdown of scanners, cumbersome customs clearing process and port service charges not tied to specific services, as some of the issues militating against the growth of shipping sector in Nigeria.

He said, “The port in Apapa cannot be accessed by port users due to poor access roads. The Federal Government must provide a permanent solution to this instead of palliative measures that do not last. Regulators should work to reduce dominant market power of port operators.

“The government must build truck holding bay and truck terminal with part of the seven per cent port development fee and define role of NPA through the enactment of proper legal framework that will allocate its responsibility. The country needs to define the port model in properly structured legal instruments; enact legislation to control and regulate the shipping/ocean business base on global best practice.

“ The government needs to also reduce the high storage/demurrage charged by shipping companies, a matter that is currently in court. Logistics facilities such as efficient ports and terminals; efficient multimodal connectivity are critical.”

Earlier, the president of MARAN, organiser of the forum, Godfrey, Bevbere, said the talkshop was put up with a view to seeking ways of improving the nation’s abysmal transport and shipping logistics infrastructure.

“Agencies rake into the coffers of the Federal Government over N1 trillion annually from the ports in Lagos, yet, there are no roads to the port. The situation of the port access roads is the biggest threat to logistics. Freight forwarders and haulage service providers face hell in Apapa daily. The situation on the road is also adding huge cost to business and has rubbished government’s ease of doing business initiative,” he noted.

Also speaking, a logistics expert and maritime consultant, Samson Chima, who described transport development as one of the world’s biggest technological breakthrough, said the country is still far from an ideal society with moderate transport infrastructure.

He said, “With connection of the various transport modes, the country’s logistics can begin on the effective note. And availability of transport infrastructure can largely improve standard of living of a people.

“Inland water transport has not been harnessed and this spans over 800km. We have to also look at cargo by air, especially, investing in infrastructure for handling air cargo.

“Other areas we want the federal government to work on include improvement in rail network and reactivating of eastern ports. The gridlock and bad road problems we have in Apapa are caused by over concentration on the Lagos ports.”

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