Even as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Western Ports is yet to commence the enforcement of the registration, standardization and entry permit fee for all trucks operating at its facilities in the Western Ports, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has directed its members to patronize only trucks that have registered with NPA and obtained the NPA sticker.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto also called on the genuine truck owners to comply with the NPA directive by ensuring that their trucks were certified road worthy and registered with NPA.
Farinto recalled that many licensed customs agents have suffered personal injuries and harassment as a result of the attitude of most drivers adding that there had been established cases where cargoes already exited from the ports were missing and untraceable just because such transporters and trucks suddenly became nonexistent.
He stated that in most cases, empty containers were not returned or delayed before they were returned to the staking area for upward of up to one month thereby making licensed customs agents lose their container deposit with shipping agents.
He disclosed that the association had been assured by NPA management that rickety vehicles would henceforth not be allowed to enter the ports saying that since this was in line with international best practice and would also allow NPA to have a data base of trucks doing business at the nation’s ports, ANLCA was supporting the lofty idea.
According to him,” The Association of Licensed Customs Agents has been keenly monitoring the above issue, particularly the directive of the Nigerian Ports Authority to enforce compliance on the standard of trucks carrying our cargoes in our ports by ensuring that they are road worthy. ANLCA is not unaware of the activities of the truck owners to insist on collecting demurrages from our members once consignments/ containers are loaded on their trucks.
“Many customs brokers have suffered personal injuries and harassment due to the attitude of most drivers. We have situations where cargoes already exited from the ports are missing and untraceable just because such transporter and trucks suddenly become non existing. Empty containers are not returned or delayed before they are returned to stack area for upward of month thereby making the licensed agents lose their deposit with shipping agents etc.
“As am talking to you, I will want you to take your time and go to Alagbon, Area F and Panti, you will see a lot of licensed customs agents locked up in the cell because of the fact that they loaded containers on trucks and they cannot see the containers again.
“ANLCA has been assured by the management of Nigerian Ports Authority that rickety trucks will henceforth not be allowed to enter the ports. Nigerians will recall that many deaths were recorded as a result of rickety trucks or loaded trucks veering off the road. Since this is in line with international best practice and will also allow NPA to have database of trucks doing business in our ports, ANLCA is supporting this lofty idea and advice genuine transport owners to comply by ensuring that their trucks are certified road worthy and registered with NPA”.
But in a swift reaction, the Chairman, Coalition of Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators, Abdullahi Mohammed Inuwa described ANLCA’s position as compounding problems for themselves as the truckers were not going to register with NPA at the amount they were demanding as according to him, the fee amounted to duplication of fee already contained in the concession agreement with the terminal operators.
Inuwa said,” The money they are charging, let me put it clearer to you, NPA is trying to duplicate a fee. Before this concession, when NPA was in-charge of the ports, there is what is called Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP). This VEP allowed to enter NPA premises and pay and it it was receipted and we are allowed to be at NPA premises.
“So, when the port was concessioned, it was now handed over to the private terminal operators. Maybe Ajayi and other NPA officials are ignorant of the concession agreement, let them go and look at the operation rate in the agreement and they will see where they said that there is VEP and tally sheet, then TPR-Tenure Parking Rate charged on each truck entering into the port premises and whatever they charged on this VEP, 5% of the total amount from that will be collected by the terminal operators on behalf of the Federal Government.
“What are they charging us for? And this VEP now, we are going based on the invitation, who invites us? The consignee through the clearing agents. By the time the cargo is ready, it is now through VEP that they will now invite us and on our contractual agreement, if they want to pay us, this money is deducted by the consignee. So, what money are they charging us for?
“If ANLCA says that they will not patronize any truck then they want to bite the finger that is feeding them. It is themselves that will suffer the consignee”.
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