BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Haulage cost halves as electronic call-up eases port congestion

One month after full deployment of the electronic call-up system in Tin-Can Island Port, the cost of transporting containers from the same port to warehouses in Lagos has declined by 50 percent, BusinessDay has learnt.

Presently, it cost about N700,000 to lift a 40-foot container from Tin-Can Port to warehouses in Lagos compared with late last year and earlier in the year, when importers paid as much as N1.4 million to lift the same size of container to anywhere in Lagos.

The implementation of electronic call-up systems in Lagos Ports, Apapa, and Tin-Can Island Ports, has brought in slight ease in cargo evacuation as truckers presently spend fewer days to access the port terminals.

Findings shows that movement in and out of Apapa has improved significantly in recent weeks as more trucks now make use of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) approved truck parks and pre-gate facilities, while less number of trucks queue on bridges and roads within Apapa and environment waiting to access the port.

Also, the electronic call-up system was fully deployed to terminals in Tin-Can Ports including Crown Flour Mills, Josepdam Port, Tin-Can Island Container Terminal, Ports and Cargo, PTML, and Five Star Logistics, on May 31, 2021, three months after the introduction of electronic call-up in Apapa Port.

Read also: Apapa: Why truckers lose N100m daily to extortion despite call-up system

Meanwhile, in addition to the decline in cost of transportation, cargo owners are beginning to experience a slight relief as the amount paid to shipping companies as demurrage for delays in taking delivery of their consignments continues to drop as well.

Confirming this, Tony Anakebe, managing director of Gold-Link Investment Limited, says that loading a 40-foot container from Tin-Can Island to warehouses in Lagos now costs about N700,000 while transporters charge about N350,000 to load a 20-foot container from the same port.

According to Anakebe, the cost of transportation is almost the same in Apapa Port, as importers pay between N500,000 and N700,000 to move a 40-foot container from Apapa Port to any warehouse in Lagos.

On the road construction, Anakebe, who spoke on a phone interview, states that some part of the Tin-Can area of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway has been constructed, but the road has not been to use while construction works on the Mile 2 bound axis is yet to commence.

He attributed the improvement in movement of trucks and decline in cost of transportation to the deployment of an electronic call-up system in the Tin-Can Port.

He however discloses that several efforts are on to jeopardise the use and effectiveness of the electronic call-up system by some self-serving security personnel in charge of traffic control in Apapa.

Adedenuola Orimolade, operations manager, Trucks Transit Parks Limited, says the implementation of the ETO call-up system has in addition to ensuring movement of trucks in and out Apapa, resulted in decline of haulage rates.

“There has been almost 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in haulage rates as it now takes about N500,000 to N600,000 to move containers from Tin-Can Island Ports to warehouses in Lagos. This is a great improvement when compared to sometime in December 2020 and earlier in the year, when importers pay as much as N1.4 million as haulage rate from Tin-Can to Ikeja,” Orimolade states in an interview with BusinessDay.

Recall that the cost of container haulage from Tin-Can Island Ports escalated in the last quarter of 2020 all through to early this year, when the bad state of roads in Apapa started taking toll on truckers by reducing the number of trips embarked on by truck owners. Then, truckers spent as long as 30 days on one trip due to the perennial gridlock on Apapa roads.

In addition, truckers’ operational costs in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance also increased due to impact of bad roads on their vehicles as well as payment of unauthorised tolls to security operatives before having access to the port to offload empty containers.

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