The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Shippers Council has been urged to auction empty containers littering Nigerian ports to people who are in need of it.
President of Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS), Capt. Anthony Onoharigho who made the call in Lagos on Monday advised the government to invoke laws that would force shipping companies to pick up their empty containers from the port.
The NIS President noted that vessels calling at Nigerian ports with import containers do not leave the port with corresponding number of empty containers they have discharged.
He said it is necessary not only to reduce the nuisance caused by empty containers gradually flooding the Lagos Ports, but also ensure it does not snowball into unmanageable port congestion.
“These containers are meant for individuals who are shippers. The vessels that bring them, come in with goods and are supposed to take them back with goods.”
“But if there are no goods to carry, the containers should be removed from the ports immediately so, as not to constitute a nuisance.
“The NPA has a constitutional way of handling cargo with the understanding, arrangement and agreement between them and port terminal operators.
“They can also invoke that part of the law to discharge the containers from the port,” Onoharigho said.
He pointed out that there were also other alternative means of removing the containers if owners did not want to do so.
He explained that it could be by auctioning, giving out to individuals who wished to make use of them or any other means government deemed fit to dispose of them.
The NIS president said that as regards holding bays, if ship owners wanted to have stacking spots for the containers, NPA should release the containers for them and reduce the nuisance it was causing in the port.
“This issue of the empty container has been on for a long time and the shippers’ council and the NPA are responsible for goods and containers’ transit from one place to another.
“There is a stacking place in Apapa and if individual ship owners who export cargoes want to get a stacking place of their own, they can do that in Apapa,” he said.