The Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL) has expressed worry over the scarcity of empty containers to bring cargoes into the country.
Jonathan Nicol, president of SAL, disclosed this in an interview with NAN on Monday in Lagos.
According to him, some cargoes are currently “trapped” in China due to this development.
He said Nigeria has over 10,000 idle containers that were of no use since they cannot be transported to China and Europe to bring in cargoes.
“The Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) system of Customs, which is supposed to be an advisory document that has credibility but unfortunately, it is not working effectively.”
Nicol stated that for the government to reap benefits from the sector, it should look into maritime problems and proffer lasting solutions to them.
He said that if the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) could generate about N2 trillion, agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency( NIMASA) could equally generate huge sums.
“In spite of the enormous challenges, the constant increase in income of the customs remains the same. So we commend the efforts of the trading community, they have done well.
“We feel that we should have been able to do more to support the government, but the challenges are enormous. Sometimes we wonder if the country cares because the bills we pay are also enormous.
“This is in spite of the fact that we try as much as possible to cooperate with government regulations and keep up with the expectations of the government,” he said.
Nicol said that shippers also expect the government to reciprocate their efforts.
He said there are no palliatives for shippers in the country.
He explained that shippers pay too many bills, adding that what they used to spend like N10,000 on before now has gone to about N200,000.
He also decried the slow pace of construction work going on at the Westminster, TinCan Island road, saying that if care was not taken, the TinCan Island port would be affected.
“The bad road makes our goods fall off the trucks, and this is a big challenge for shippers because their goods are not guaranteed,” he said.
“Insurance will say it’s a natural consequence because the roads are not part of what they insured.”
He added that the maritime industry was also battling many agitations from shipping and terminal operators, who increased their prices in 2021.
Nicole urged the government to fine-tune some of the processes in cargo clearance so that it would be a seamless system.
– The Cable