Worried at the inadequate and dilapidated ports infrastructure, which have spiked the cost of operations, and led to loss of lives and businesses, the Association of Lagos State (SALS) has threatened to sue the Federal Government for damages.
SALS President, Rev. Jonathan Nicol, believes it is the result of a “deliberate policy somersault of government making the private service provider to operate under unknown negative regulatory compliance.”
In a statement, SALS President, Rev. Jonathan Nicol, said the body “will partner other stakeholders to press for damages on our collective business downturn and the destruction of our hard earned infrastructures.”
It will seek “compensation for those who lost their lives in the struggle of delivering empty containers to their rightful owners, and also hold the port regulators responsible for their inability to induce sanity in the dispensation of their normal duties.”
Nicol added: “We are law abiding and cannot continue to pay heavy local transport fare any further. The local transport should be made to reduce their unreasonable charges for evacuation of goods from the ports.
“If shipping lines are held culpable, local transport owners should also be held responsible for high cost of doing business in our ports. The Nigerian Shippers’ Council should ensure such fees like local transport fare and congestion levy are not allowed to stay.”
Nicol, who regretted the pains that shippers face at the ports, said that SALS considers the new charge of $400 per Lagos port-bound container by CMA CGC shipping as arbitrary, unfair and lacking in economic sense, since the said congestion is neither caused by importers nor shippers.
Therefore, “it is our view that the road congestion of laden trucks with empty containers littered all over the city of Lagos and causing security risks to life and property should be viewed more seriously by the Ports Economic Regulator, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
The empty containers are the property of the shipping lines which normally collect container deposits for their boxes in transit. It is the fact that empty containers do not have access to the ports with ease as before, and this is a riddle. Agreed that the roads are bad, but trucks have access to Apapa Port or Tin Can Island and PTML ports regularly.
“A total of 800 containers are cleared daily from the various ports. How did the trucks get in to the ports? Why can’t the trucks carrying over 800 containers daily have access to the ports to offload their empty boxes?”