By DAPO OLAWUNI
Frontline Roll On Roll Off vehicle terminal in Nigeria; PTML Terminals have raised an alarm that absence of clearing agents and failure to take delivery of their cargoes on weekends is affecting operations inside the terminal, especially in discharging vessels.
Speaking inside the terminal yesterday, Terminal Manager, Mr Tunde Keshinro said that 24 hours port operations at Nigerian port is not working, he said the concept only exists on paper.
For example, Keshinro said the PTML terminal is always open Monday to Sunday, but that other stakeholders, especially clearing agents and the banks never come forward on weekends.
Even on week days, he said the agents never commence serious activity until 1pm, thereby wasting five hours of the terminal operators time.
He said these are major constraints, despite the fact that the terminal clear cargoes within forty eight hours. He added that the essence of port concessioning is to bring value to Nigerian Ports.
Speaking, he said “We deploy online payments, the Customs also deployed online payments, but it is not all the banks that are giving this value of online payments, these are areas that the banks need to expand”
“If you go to the examination bay on Saturday, nothing is happening, if i am discharging on Saturday and there is no opportunity to do further activities on the cargo, I am going to get it locked down till Monday or Tuesday and there is going to be an imbalance”
“We want the other agencies to work in the real sense of 24 hours operations, not just on paper.
We must commend the Customs for working with us, within the last few days, they have tried, but we can’t shy away from challenges of security, illumination and access difficulties”
“Positioning of containers is done within 24hours, billing, receipting and others are done online, delivery we are fully available.
But we can only offer service to people who are available, the clearing agents keep complaining but you don’t see them coming to work on Saturday, you don’t see them coming to work early in the morning, often times we have idle four to five hours, we open our gates by 8am, but we don’t see effective agents coming to demand service from you until 12 noon, the real activities starts by 1pm”
“It is not enough to complain that Nigerian port is not effective, but how are you processing your own work to take advantage of the opportunities provided.” he said
Keshinro also lamented that overtime cargoes abandoned inside the terminal since year 2016 has taken up about 30% of the space inside the PTML Terminal and this has caused her to struggle for space.
“In terms of quantity and quality of vehicles coming here, we have constraints in terms of abandoned cargoes, today, since 2016, I have been struggling with 30% of my space locked down with abandoned cargoes that Customs have not auctioned, this has caused serious constraints no matter the capacity I have, I am terminal operator and what I sell is my space, if I am fast and my turn around is quick, it determines by profitability”
“But within these constraints, the vessels are regularly coming in, they don’t delay outside and we are able to deliver within acceptable framework for the shipowner”