By Peter Bayo
Investigations have revealed that many containers that arrived the Apapa port before 2010 are still littering the ports more than a decade after they arrived the nation’s busiest port.
According to a public notice made available to the news men by the management of the APM Terminals, operator of the container terminal at Apapa port, some of the containers have stayed as far as 4000 days ago (more than 10 years) inside the port without their owners coming to clear them.
“In support of the efforts of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to decongest the port to enable the discharge of new containers, we urgently request the importers of below listed 1,290 containers that have been in the terminal for 365 days to 4,000 days, to clear them.
“To assist importers, and in support of government policy, the Terminal will offer 50 per cent discount on the storage charges for any of the listed containers delivered until March 15, 2020. Full tariff will be payable from March 16, 2020,” APM Terminals said in a notice to port users, recently.
Speaking to the news men exclusively on the development, a port worker, who wouldn’t want his name in print, wondered why an importer will spend so much energy to bring in a container to Nigeria only to leave such container inside the port for more than ten years uncleared and unclaimed.
In his words: “We have containers that have been in the port before 2010 littering the ports unclaimed or un-cleared. At a point, I had to ask some of my colleagues whether importers in this part of the world see the port as a warehouse.
“Imagine an importer spending so much resources to bring in a container or sets of containers, only for the cargoes to arrive the port and the owners are nowhere to be found. The statement issued by the APM Terminal stated that the 1,290 containers have been in the port between 365 days (a year) and 4,000 days, which is more than ten years.
“That should tell you the enormity of the challenges confronting the terminal operators because these cargoes that have stayed long in the port eat up spaces in the ports, and port operation is all about space management. Without space inside the port, there is no way the terminal operators can break-even, given the fact that “they pay government for the space allotted to them inside the port to manage.”