Agubanze decries situation at Lillypond container depot months after rebranding


The Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Rev. Emmanuel Agubanze has decried the state of inactivity of the Lillypond/Ijora container depot few months after it was re-designated Tincan 2 by the Federal Government describing it as another effort in futility.

Agubanze who made his feeling known in an interview with newsmen in Lagos stated that nothing has actually happened at the terminal to justify the re-designation since the terminal could best be described as a desert as it is presently.

He contended that since it was the availability of cargo that make a terminal or a depot what it is, one cannot posit that Lillypond Container Depot has progressed since till date, there was no cargo at the terminal to justify the change.

According to him,”As far as I can see, nothing much has changed. What we see at Lillypond since the time I spoke with you till today is talk and no action. For instance, I know that there are certain moves by the operators of that terminal in conjunction with the customs to move Lillypond away from Apapa port and affiliate Lillypond to Tincan Island port but as we speak, nothing has come. The correction documentation has been done, if you raise anything there now, it is Tincan 2.

“But when there is no cargo, I take it that nothing has happened because it is availability of cargo to the Lillypond Container terminal that will show that yes, something has happened. As at today, there is no cargo, the place is just like a desert and as far as I am concerned nothing really has happened”.

He further likened the re-designation of Lillypond terminal to removing a label of a particular product and decorating it with a label of another product while the content still remained that of the initial product arguing that although Lillypond terminal had been rebranded Tincan 2, it is still the same terminal operator that was still there, the same management as well as the same attitude.

“Now, when you rebrand and remove Lillypond from Apapa and you now affiliate it to Tincan, ordinarily, it will be cheering news but have we been told the contractual agreement? Because such things must be by contractual agreement, terms and conditions must be specific. We are not privy to all these things, are we told that there is an agreement to stem containers continuously to that place weekly or monthly?

“So, I can’t such because I am not aware that there are dedicated vessels to Lillypond from Tincan. Even when you say Tincan, is it Ports and Cargo, is it TICT, is it China Shipping or is it who? What is the agreement? These are the things that are supposed to be laid bare because this is trade, trade should not be hidden because when you make everything known to the public, they will patronize you but when you are evasive, then there is a problem. So, it is not about saying Tincan 2, it is about changing the mentality of the management at the terminal”.

“If you put Lillypond in Tincan and nothing else is done, it is just going to be the same unless you tell us that China Shipping or whoever has agreed that every month or every week one vessel should be stemmed to Lillypond and we know that it is contractually agreed”, he said.

The NAGAFF Chieftain disclosed that he has elected not to be attending any stakeholders’ meeting called by the terminal operator at the terminal explaining that a lot of meetings had been held, a lot more would be held, yet nothing good had come out of those meetings pointing out that if one keeps doing the same thing the same way, he is bound to continually get the same result.

He said,” Those stakeholders’ meetings are just stakeholders’ meetings because all the promises made in the previous meetings, none of them have come to pass. So, I feel I don’t have to be saying the same thing every time with the same people who are not ready to carry out their responsibility because you must know and you must understand that there are people who invested so much in Lillypond command, talking about the concessionaires, talking about the customs and these are the people I expected to protect their investments. But when they seem not to do so for reasons best known to them, they are not even willing to take a step forward, then calling me to a meeting becomes a waste of time because I cannot continue to attend such a meeting when I know that there is no political will for you to do what you have promised.

“So, you can see, since July till date, nothing has changed. Even before July, the place was still empty, no single container from Tincan has come, no ship has been stemmed”.

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