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Lagos lockdown: Shippers seek continuous evacuation of containers to decongest ports

…As NSC deploys buses to ease movement of freight agents

Worried about the likely cost implication of piling up uncleared containers at ports, Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) has called on port industry players to take the opportunities created by free flow of vehicular traffic during the 14-days lockdown in Lagos, to decongest ports.

Jonathan Nicol, president of SALS, who commended NPA’s proactive efforts in dealing with issues in the port since Coronavirus outbreak, said the two weeks lockdown would help to decongest the ports and eliminate the protracted Apapa traffic jam, if massive evacuation of empty containers is carried out.

“We hope the Apapa traffic would disappear after the two weeks lockdown. Government Agencies should assist the Nigerian Ports Authority to achieve this objective. The Port Health and the Federal Ministry of Transportation should synergies to curtail the dreaded Coronavirus within port complexes,” he advised.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) is perfecting arrangement to deploy coaster buses in strategic locations in Lagos to help ease the transportation challenges freight forwarders may encounter during the period of lockdown.

Boniface Aniebonam, founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarder (NAGAFF), who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos, said the approval to deploy the buses was granted by Hassan Bello, executive secretary of the NSC.

“We have it on good authority from the ES of NSC that coaster buses are being deployed at strategic locations in Lagos to help freight forwarders to ease transportation to the ports,” said Aniebonam.

He however disclosed that some banks are not taking responsibility to deal with issues relating to form M registration, adding that the information has been passed on to the executive secretary of NSC and Registrar of CRFFN to investigate and follow up.

According to him, management of NAGAFF are in close contact with the comptroller General of Customs as well as area commands to ensure that Customs officers are in their duty post to enable cargo clearance at the ports.

He called on the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) to join the efforts of the Council in dealing with transportation related matters in order to ensure seamless port operation during the lockdown.

“That equally goes to other government agencies assigned to the ports like NPF, SON, NAFDAC, NDLEA and among others. We can make this process peaceful and orderly. It is all about sacrifices for our nation and lives of Nigerians and others living in our country,” he stated.

 

AMAKA ANAGOR-EWUZIE

 

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