A Nigerian freight forwarding industry critic, Chidi Anthony Opara has raised an alarm, accusing the West African Container Terminal (WACT) of hampering trade facilitation at Onne Seaport in Rivers State.
WACT is one of the terminals in Nigeria owned by APM Terminals.
Opara, a registered freight forwarder based in Port Harcourt and a former Chieftain of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) alleged that WACT has been collecting double charges from stakeholders at the port.
He also alleged inefficiency of the terminal in container handling as well as delay in dropping of containers for examination. He freight forwarders are made to pay for three inefficiencies.
“The West African Container Terminal(WACT), a terminal operator at Onne Seaport have been hampering instead of helping trade facilitation at the seaport”
“WACT’s inefficiency has been on for some time now”
“If it is not excess billing, it will be double billing. For example, WACT would bill clients for cargo storage and still bill same clients for security. How would a terminal operator store cargoes without securing them?
“Another of WACT’s inefficiency that hampers trade facilitation is the constant server shut downs, which makes it difficult for freight forwarders who have completed the process to obtain “authority to load” to load their cargoes. The annoying part is that when the server comes, usually, the next day, the freight forwarders would also be required to pay for the extra day”
“Currently, WACT have devised a system in which after payment of all container dropping (for examination) charges, the freight forwarders are asked to wait for one week before the containers could be dropped (for examination), this one week, will however be paid for by the freight forwarders”
“WACT despite all pleas from freight forwarders have refused to mend their ways, mainly because these ineficiciencies bring additional funds into the coffers of the terminal operator”
“The second reason why WACT have not done anything to address these inefficiencies, is that most of the freight forwarding leaders in the Eastern axis are friends of the terminal operator and enjoys some concessions in cargo handling charges, etc.
“The above referenced situation have hampered effective pressures from the freight forwarders that should have been directed to WACT and aimed at normalizing the referenced anomalies”
“For now, the hampering of trade facilitation by WACT continues at Onne seaport, while the freight forwarders pay for services not rendered and gnash their teeth helplessly” Opara stated