24hrs Port Operations: Terminal Operators Set to Drag-Out Customs, Clearing Agents During Sallar Holidays

DAPO OLAWUNI

Apparently, there would not be any
Id-El-Kabir (sallar) holidays for officers of the Nigeria Customs Service at Tin Can Island Command, as port terminal operator; TICT Terminal has insisted that its gate would be open for operations throughout the 2021 celebration.

DAILY TREND NEWS gathered that this move by the terminal operator is to further avoid unnecessary clash with freight forwarders and licensed customs agents who usually demand waiver on terminal charges and demurrages during national holidays and even weekends.

In a letter addressed to the Customs Area Controller, Tin Can Island Command, signed by the Documentation Manager of TICT, Mr Greg Sikpi, a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent, the terminal insisted that it is working in line with Federal Government directives that the ports must operate 24hrs.

To this effect, the terminal operator demanded that the Customs boss should deploy his officers who must be on duty during the sallar holidays.

“We humbly write to inform you sir that should the Federal Government of Nigeria declare Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st 2021 as public holiday to mark Id-ElKabir, TICT Terminal will be open for work on these days”

“This is in line with Government directives that the ports be open 24/7, public holidays and weekends inclusive”

“Sir, on these days, we will carry out normal Port side and Land side operations. These will include discharging and loading of vessels. deliveries to Customers who want to take advanlage of light traffic experienced during such holidays”

“Our gates will also be open to receive both empty and export containers and examination of containers if “Customers Booking Request” demand we do so”

“We humbly request that officers be posted to both Terminal and Exit gate to enhance smooth operation on these days” the terminal informed Customs.

Our correspondent reports that 24hrs Port Operations at Nigerian ports has been a mirage.

On several occasions, terminal operators have alleged that Customs Officers are not always on ground to work 24hours, while the customs have equally passed the bulk to freight forwarders who fail to turn up for 24hrs clearance.

Speaking recently during a visit of Nigerian Shippers Council to its terminal, General Manager of PTML Terminal, Mr Ascanio Russo stated that 24hours port operations in Nigeria is not achievable due to lack of adequate security.

He also listed bad port infrastructures and bad access roads as bane of 24hrs Port Operations.

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