… Urges sustainability
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has congratulated the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the successful berthing of the largest container vessel ever to call any Nigerian ports at Onne ports last week.
The National President of ANLCA, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike who made the commendation in an interview with our correspondent on Monday in Lagos described it as a welcomed development even as he called for decentralization of the seaports so as to decongest the Lagos ports.
Nwabunike said, “I want to begin by saying that it is a welcomed development. It’s just like what we have been asking for before now, that NPA needs to decentralize the ports so that people will begin to take their goods from different parts of the country. This Maerskline Stardelhorn that came, that is almost the highest carrier was a good one because if you look at what is happening at Lagos seaports now, there are so many congestion, no single way to get consignments out or bring in empty containers.
“The issues we are having now is that the western ports are filled up with containers and empty containers. And then again, the roads are not helping the matter. So, if you look at it critically, you see that we need to get these things out of Lagos. So, it is a welcomed development and again, I still want us to know that not just Onne seaport, we need to think about Calabar seaport, we need to begin to think about Warri, we need to think about Onitsha, if there is any way we can begin to do these things and begin to distribute those containers in various seaports, the earlier the better. I think it is a welcomed development.”
On the sustainability of feat achieved by NPA in this direction, the ANLCA President advised that the NPA and other stakeholders should sit down and discuss way forward as according to him “there is going to be some problems there too.”
“Some people, who have scheduled their goods to come to Lagos, are going to go to Onne to clear their goods and taking it back to Lagos is another way of incurring additional cost. So, I think that it is something NPA and stakeholders are going to sit down together to agree that henceforth, it is better and easier to send some goods to other seaports that can be helpful rather than this western ports because if you don’t tell the stakeholders, if you don’t tell the importers and you take their goods to wherever they did not destined their goods to, it might generate another legal action”, he added.
He further contended that with the successful berthing of this vessel at Onne, piracy cannot be used again as an excuse for not berthing vessels wherever it was desired in the eastern ports.
He continued, “But let me say that this secure anchorage and NPA issue that is still lingering has not actually made anything insignificant by security otherwise, if they had problem before now, I think security risk would have been higher. But because up till this present time, nothing negative has happened about security on this issue. I think it shouldn’t be used as a yardstick for not sending goods to eastern ports.
“So, my take is that it shouldn’t be the issue because most Nigerian bound vessels are almost 80 percent safe wherever they are berthing.”
Photo: ANLCA National President, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike.
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