Congestion heightens in Lagos Ports as vessel waiting time hits 25 days

…Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, others decry operational delays


Shipping liners calling Nigerian ports in Lagos are presently experiencing operational delays due to the lingering congestion within the port terminals resulting in long waiting time of vessels before accessing the port to discharge laden containers.

Currently, shipping liners are spending more than 25 days waiting time in Apapa Container terminal, West Africa’s busiest container terminal and over 10 days waiting time in Tin-Can Island Container Terminal.

For instance, Hapag-Lloyd, German shipping company recently said that the current waiting time for berth in APMT terminal in Apapa, Nigeria, is now more than 25 days while for TICT terminal (Tin-Can Island) waiting times exceed 10 days.

According to the liner, these operational delays are heavily affecting its two services called MIAX and MWX, which have calls at both terminals in their long-term schedules.

Hapag-Lloyd further assured its customers that it would continue to take measures for each vessel approaching the port of Lagos in order to minimise the impact on its customers.

“If a decision to omit APMT terminal is taken, the cargo will be discharged at TICT terminal and further transferred to KCT terminal by dedicated barge service on Hapag-Lloyd account and arrangement, where Customs clearance of Apapa cargo is possible,” the shipping liner stated.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Maersk Line recently confirmed in its Customer Advisory note that its calls to Lagos ports are presently facing challenges.

“Currently, we are experiencing severe delays in Lagos due to highly utilised terminal yards, crane break-downs and long truck queues. We continue to work proactively with all our terminal partners across West Africa and specifically with Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to assist where possible in mitigating the congestion currently being experienced in Lagos,” said the Customer Advisory note.

The note further pointed out that Maersk has adjusted its various services across Far East to West Africa network in order to deliver a stable and reliable product to customers.

Maersk however explained that changes to its service rotation were to ensure it continues call at all West African ports while ensuring that it limits the impact of the delays on customers’ cargo.

Recall that terminal owners are also complaining that vessels with laden containers, which ordinarily should seamlessly discharge their consignments within 48 hours, are beginning to spend three weeks in waiting time before having access into the ports to berth.

Tunde Keshinro, general manager, Ports and Terminal Multservices Limited (PTML) in Tin-Can Island, recently told visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegates to tour Nigerian ports, that his terminal has been recording growing number of overtime and abandoned cargoes that have been abandoned at the terminal since 2016.

According to him, overtime cargo is currently occupying more than 30 percent of commercial space in the terminal due to the failure of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to auction them as required.

“Since 2016, we have been struggling with 30 percent of our space that was locked up under abandoned cargo because Customs has not been auctioning and that has become a serious concern for us,” he said.