…RoRo Vessels Stranded At Cotonou
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the protest embarked upon by Nigerian freight forwarders since February 21st has continued to linger, the biggest vehicle terminal in Nigeria; Ports and Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) has raised alarm that not less than 12,000 vehicles are currently trapped at its terminal in Lagos.
The freight forwarders are protesting a newly introduced obnoxious policy of the Nigeria Customs Service called; Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation which has since increased the duty payment on imported vehicles by more than 300percent.
General Manager of PTML Terminal, Mr Tunde Keshinro while speaking at a truce meeting between Customs and freight forwarders in Lagos on Tuesday, stated that since the strike action commenced, the terminal has not released vehicles.
According to him, the terminal releases between 800 and 1,000 vehicles on daily basis.
Keshinro also stated that RoRo Vessels that are supposed to come into Lagos Port to discharge cargoes are trapped at Cotonou Port, waiting for further instructions whether to come in or not.
DAILY TREND NEWS gathered that ready, port congestion is looming at the Tin Can Port as the two vehicles ports; PTML Terminal and Tin Can Island Port are filled up.
Meanwhile the response of Assistant Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service Zone A’ Mrs Modupe Aremu at the stakeholders meeting on Tuesday indicated that the strike may continue till Friday.
She said the service would only communicate back with its decision on the controversial VIN Valuation by Friday.
Speaking at the meeting, the PTML General Manager said “There has been a disruption in the discharge of vehicles from the terminal, it is on record that for us to be able to handle the number of vehicles we do on yearly and monthly basis, we handle minimum of 800 to 1,000 vehicles per day.
“But I can stand here to say that within the time the strike action commenced , we have not done anything.
“Vessels that are supposed to discharge vehicles in Lagos are now delayed at Cotonou, waiting to know their fate, that is how serious this issue is”
Keshinro advised the customs management to reconsider its stand on the VIN Valuation policy, saying that the service must take into consideration the peculiar nature of Nigerian economy.
“We all know the impact of the Covid-19 and how countries all over the world have been struggling. It is on record that the Nigerian government, as a matter of fact introduced sustainability programmes with $5billion to sustain the economy, the same thing with CBN going out of its way to finance strategic investment in various sectors”
He urged Customs to carry out a newspaper publication and make its VIN Valuation data base open to the general public for the sake of transparency.
Accroding to him, 85percent of vehicles coming into Nigeria are used vehicles.
“Meaning that in terms of employment and survival in Nigeria used vehicles is the major thing that sustains the job” he said