Export Containers Rotten At Nigerian Ports, As Presidential Task Team Deny Access

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By DAPO OLAWUNI

Even though the federal government is trying to encourage exportation in order to generate foreign exchange, there are indications that the Presidential Task Team controlling traffic in Apapa, headed by a former Commissioner of Transportation in Lagos, Mr Kayode Opeifa is denying export containers from accessing the nation’s ports.

DAILY TREND NEWS learnt that movement of export cotainers have been restricted to only Sundays.
Also, not more than 50 containers are allowed to access the port on every Sunday.

For a nation that is trying to divert attention from importation and encouraging its citizens to go into export, this is a very poor figure.

An exporter and Chairman of Tin Can 2 of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Mr Femi Olabanji lamented that there is no week that an export container would not be damaged because of difficulties in accessing the port.

He said that a large number of perishable goods coming from Northern Nigeria are all getting spoilt inside the containers due to lack of access, while the owners lose huge amount of money.

The exporters called on the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr Hassan Bello to intervene on giving access to export containers into the ports even on the Sundays that has been earmarked for them to come to the port area.

Speaking, Femi Olabanji indicted the Opeifa Presidential Task Team as well as the police officers at the port, saying that after collecting bribes from exporters, they still turn back their containers and if the agents resist, they are mostly maltreated and beaten to a pulp.

He alleged that priority is given to empty containers over export containers.

“Nigerian government does not see export containers as important, they give priority to empty containers more than export containers, how can a reasonable government be doing that. If you start complaining the police start to beat you to a pulp”

“The problem we are facing in the country, mostly in Lagos is that the few Nigerians who are willing to use their money to export goods out of this country are facing problems, how can you go outside to buy your market, and to bring it into the port would be a problem, there is no week that an export container would not be damaged because of difficulties in accessing the port”

“We were given Sundays only to move our export containers to the port, but on this Sunday, they would not allow more than 60 containers to access the port, others would be returned, because of this, many goods have damaged inside the container”

“I export yam, from Ijora to Apapa, it took me three weeks to get to the port, but before I could get to the port, the yam has spoilt, we cannot export it again”

“I am begging the government to please give access to export containers, if you go to the shipping company and make booking for ten containers to enter into the port, the containers would not have gotten to the port before the vessel comes and goes back without carrying the containers”

“The clearing agent would now have to re-book it on another vessel, it would take another one month before another vessel would come to the port, so most of all the export containers are getting damaged” he said

Olabanji also confirmed that right now, only few Nigerians are into export business.

“The activities of the federal task force clearing the traffic in Apapa is also affecting us, a container was returned even though all documentation was correct, they said it was late, yet the ship was leaving the next day. This is a contract container, but it has expired because I could not access the port”

“We are begging the Shippers Council Executive Secretary as well, the man worked 24hours during the COVID-19, but I am begging him to look into the issue of export”

“Opeifa does not know containers that are supposed to go into the port, he only sees containers moving, they should give access to export containers on Sundays”

“On Sundays that they gave us, we still pay them to pass, it is not free, but after paying, they still deny us access”

Olabanji reiterated that containers of export stay on the line for two months because the task force controlling the traffic only come in the morning and they close by evening

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