Customs Enforces Compulsory Transfer of Overtime Cargoes At Port After 90-Days

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…Freight Forwarders Commend ACG Zone ‘A’ As Ikorodu Terminal Comes Alive

By DAPO OLAWUNI

There are indications that the Nigeria Customs Service have now stamped its foot on the ground in ensuring that all overtime cargoes littering Nigerian Ports are evacuated to the Ikorodu Government Warehouse.

In the past, thousands of overtime cargoes were stranded at various terminals because the terminal operators allegedly refused to transmit the Uncleared Cargo List (UCL) to the Customs. It has been a ding dong affair between Customs, Terminal Operators and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)

However, freight forwarders at the Ikorodu terminal last week confirmed to DAILY TREND NEWS that the terminal has come alive, through the efforts of Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG) in charge of Zone ‘A’ Headquarters, ACG Kaycee Ekekezie who has directed that every container that is ninety days at the port must be transferred to Ikorodu.

Speaking with our correspondent, Pioneer Chairman of Ikorodu Chapter of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Mr Martins Ikechukwu commended ACG Kaycee Ekekezie for carrying out a wonderful operation which all ACG’s in the past failed to do

“I speak with you now, we have a seating TS, we have a seating valuation officer and a seating CIU, right now, Ikorodu terminal is like a command of its own”

“It has been approved that every container that is ninety days must be transferred to Ikorodu. Barges have been trooping into Ikorodu heavily and cargoes are not being dispatched to mother ports before clearance, every unit needed to clear the cargo are all at Ikorodu
We are directly under Harvey Road, we go there to print terminal charges”

“The only thing that looks like a problem between agents and customs is that price of N10,000 per day that they hanged on us, it is too much, even though we are smiling that work has commenced, we still have to follow this up gradually” he said

Continuing, he said “The customs have told us that they have no right to bring down or rebate on any payment, and that we should write the Ministry of finance or Ministry of Transportation would would now instruct customs to slash the money down, the terminal money is being paid into government purse directly”

Also speaking with our correspondent, former chairman of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Ikorodu chapter, Mr Obinna Okafor said there is no more space at Ikorodu terminal because everywhere is filled to the brim with cargoes.

Okeford commended the improved synergy between the Nigeria Customs Service and the NPA, saying that lack of synergy was the main reason why the terminal has been lying fallow for several years.

He observed that “Before now, customs and NPA were not working together, but now, they are working together”

“The problem we had before was the lack of synergy between customs and NPA, but now there is synergy and they are working together, that is why the terminal is up and doing”

“Last week, we had meeting with the ACG Headquarters on how the terminal would be churning out cargoes as at when due so that importers can take advantage of the terminal”

“Overtime cargo is no longer a shipping company or terminal operators cargo, it is now a government cargo and a committee are in charge now. So, for them to work effectively, they have to bring cargoes to Ikorodu”

“As at today, all overtime cargoes in the Western ports have been approved to come to Ikorodu, we have started work last week officially and things are now moving well” he said

Obinna said that if owners of the cargoes at the Ikorodu terminal fail to clear them within two months, the Customs would auction them.

“The cargoes at the terminal presently, if the owners fail to pick it up after two months, it would be auctioned so that the terminal can be free for other cargoes to come in”

While speaking on the previous sabotage by terminal operators in the transfer of overtime cargoes, Mr Okafor said “The customs have on their systems, the list of cargoes that have arrived into Nigerian ports, the ACG we have now is dogged, so they have decided to really do their work”

“Nobody can tell Nigeria how to run Nigeria, if anything happens, the revenue of the customs would be affected, the terminal operators income is not affected, so they cannot hold government and the international community ransome because of their selfish interest” he said

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