The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has commenced the evacuation of overtime cargoes as part of its efforts to decongest the ports and ensure efficient operations. The move received a significant boost with the assessment tour led by Dr. Magdelene Ajani, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation. The assessment team, comprising representatives from the NPA, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, observed a substantial number of overdue cargoes littering the Lagos and Tincan Island Port Complexes, as well as the terminals, contributing to infrastructure deterioration and operational challenges.
Addressing Port Congestion:
Mrs. Josephine Moltok, General Manager of Corporate and Strategic Communications at the NPA, highlighted the urgency to address port congestion by promptly handling overtime cargoes. She revealed that the Lagos and Tincan Island Port Complexes, along with their terminals, were burdened with approximately 3,200 units of overtime cars and 3,295 units of overtime containers. Additionally, the eastern ports collectively held 956 overtime containers. Moltok emphasized that the prolonged presence of these overdue cargoes not only strained terminal capacities but also compromised port infrastructure, which is designed for efficient cargo handling and transit operations.
Auctioning Overtime Cargoes:
Following the assessment tour on June 23 and 24, an all-stakeholder sensitization meeting was convened on June 26, involving shipping lines, freight forwarders, and clearing agents. The meeting reached a unanimous decision to auction all cargoes and containers that had exceeded their required time at the ports “in-situ” (in their current locations) and promptly remove them from the ports. The NPA aims to ensure transparency and inclusiveness in the auction process by finalizing the modalities in collaboration with stakeholders. Similar sensitization meetings with stakeholders in the eastern ports of Warri, Rivers, Onne, and Calabar are also scheduled to take place.
Collaboration for Efficient Port Operations:
The Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, has repeatedly sought the cooperation of the Nigerian Customs Service to facilitate the swift removal of overtime cargo from the ports and terminal yards. This collaborative effort aims to create additional space and preserve the longevity of the capital-intensive port infrastructure.
The Nigerian Ports Authority has taken proactive steps to alleviate port congestion by initiating the evacuation of overtime cargoes. With the support of key stakeholders, the NPA aims to auction these overdue cargoes in their current locations and promptly remove them from the ports. This endeavor seeks to optimize port operations, enhance efficiency, and preserve the durability of vital port infrastructure. The NPA’s commitment to addressing port congestion is a significant step toward fostering a seamless and productive trade environment in Nigeria.
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