Shippers Boycott NAHCO Services over High Charges

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Maritime activities ended on Friday with a directive by the Shippers Association, Lagos State (SALS) that shippers should boycott the services of the National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) over hike in charges.
President of the association, Mr Jonathan Nicol gave the directive in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.
He urged shippers (importers and exporters) to make do with the services of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Ltd. (SAHCOL) due to the 30 per cent hike in demurrage and cargo handling charges by NAHCO.
According to him, this directive came after series of attempts by the shippers (importers and exporters) to resolve the issue which had degenerated into strike by freight forwarders at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Cargo Unit.
He said, “Within three years, the initial cost at N26 per kilo was moved to N38 per kilo and recently moved to N53 per kilo.’’
The shipper, however, said NAHCO had offered reasons for the hike, which it (NAHCO) attributed to the devaluation of the naira.
Nicol explained that some of the terminal operators had failed to feel the pains and heartbeats of Nigerian shippers, adding that they were thwarting the efforts of the Nigerian shippers aocncil (NSC) in negotiating costs.
“Majority of the shippers could hardly get back their investments, talk less of making profits.
“While the shippers are crying to the banks, these terminal operators, both at seaports and airports are smiling to the banks.
“This is indeed a sympathetic situation and very unfortunate,’’ the shipper said.
In the week under review, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) said the Federal Government was losing N5 billion daily to the gridlocks on access roads around Lagos ports.
The National Publicity Secretary of the association, Dr Kayode Farinto, made the disclosure at a news conference.
He attributed the continuous gridlock to indiscriminate parking of tankers, which usually blocked the highways.
“Federal government is not exempted in these daily records of losses as revenues generated by some government agencies have begun to drop at an estimate of over N5 billion daily.
“This is as a result of the traffic gridlock.
“The various port users, including Apapa residents, have continued to experience untold hardships.
“These have been having negative impact on business activities within and outside the ports’ environment.
“Some innocent Nigerians have also, on many occasions, fallen victims of armed robbery attacks in their bid to make use of few alternative routes.
“You recall that this great association some years back, envisaged that port users will have challenges on that road and advised against siting of tank farms within the ports area, especially along the port access roads, from Ijora Wharf up to Tin Can Island and toward Mile 2,“ Farinto said.
He threatened that members of ANLCA would withdraw their services from the Lagos ports if the Federal Government fails to not redress the situation.
Mrs Vicky Haastrup, the Chairman, Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), also bemoaned the gridlock created by operators of tank farms on roads leading to Apapa.
Haastrup, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ENL Consortium, made the remark in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos.
The terminal operator said the gridlock was a direct consequence of system failure in the oil and gas industry logistics chain.
She said the only way to solve the problem caused by the gridlock was to immediately suspend the lifting of imported petroleum products from tank farms by road.
“There is over-concentration of oil tank farms in Apapa, an area predominantly designed for port operations.
“There is now a situation where we have proliferation of oil tank farms without regard for the safety and logistics implication.
“I issued a warning over five years ago advising government to discontinue tank farm operations in Apapa but nothing was done.
“The problem is now staring all of us in the face,’’ Haastrup said.
According to Haastrup, port operations have been brought to a virtual standstill as a result of this chaos created by tank farms and oil tankers and it does not look like anyone is doing anything drastic about it.
She said that the situation was that over 10,000 tankers come to Apapa daily.
Haastrup noted that there were about 60 tank farms operating in Apapa.
Haastrup said that for immediate solution, there must be immediate suspension of the evacuation of petroleum products from Apapa by road.
“The authorities must immediately activate the use of barges in petroleum products evacuation, ‘’ she said.
According to Haastrup, ultimately and in the long run, the incoming government should get the nation’s refineries working to reduce the nation’s avoidable dependence on importation of petroleum products.
“The tank farms in Apapa must also be relocated to allow a breath of fresh air for port operations,’’ she said.
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