• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Freight forwarders tackle Customs, port terminal for depriving bonded warehouse requisite cargoes

Freight forwarders tackle Customs, port terminal for depriving bonded warehouse requisite cargoes

Freight forwarders, under the aegis of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), have queried the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and operator of the Apapa Container Terminal for depriving bonded warehouses of requisite cargoes.

Ibrahim Tanko, national coordinator of the NAGAFF 100percent Compliance Team, gave the query after inspecting the bonded terminals around the Abule-Osun area in Lagos.

The team engaged the leadership of GMT Terminal, a facility that has the capacity to handle about 5,000 containers and has been idle for over five months due to lack of cargo.

Tanko said that despite the pressure at Apapa port and complaints about congestion, that the team has discovered that some terminals are abandoned like the GMT Terminal.

“There is no single container at the terminal because according to the managers of the bonded terminal, the terminal operator has refused to send containers to the bonded terminal.

Tanko, however, said that his team would discuss with the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Command and equally engage the managers of the terminal in Apapa to find out issues preventing the use of bonded terminals like GMT.

Waseem Rasheed, general manager of GMT Bonded and Offdock Terminals, said the bonded terminal is under the Apapa Customs Command which has Apapa Container Terminal as its major terminal.

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“It is only when the port terminal is congested that they would direct shipping lines to stem containers to our bonded terminals. This is very bad for our business. That wasn’t the assurance we got when coming into this business. In over five months, we haven’t had any business to do. We just come to the office to sit down and hope that cargoes arrive. We have to pay staff salaries, we have huge equipment with reach stackers, cranes; we also have to provide security, power supply, among other things without doing any business,” Rasheed lamented.

He however expressed optimism that Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which encouraged investments in bonded terminal operations years ago will create a business environment that would see bonded terminal operations thrive.

At another bonded terminal called SAPID also located at Abule-Osun, Tanko lamented the unhealthy work environment provided to the freight forwarders.

“We are going to officially send a letter to SAPID on this issue of unpalatable work environment. During our engagement with the Deputy Controller at the facility, he claimed that even among the Customs offices only his office has a functional air conditioner. If SAPID is ready for bonded terminal operations, it should have an environment conducive to business,” Tanko said.

The task team also visited the Classic bonded terminal where the operators lamented that activities of Area Boys affiliated with the Local Government have limited the patronage of the facility as trucks exiting the bonded terminal are being forced to pay un-receipted levies.