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Maritime

Container Auctions: Customs shortchanging terminal operators of 25% charge-value- STOAN

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STOAN: Lagos ports are not congested

Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria  (STOAN) at the weekend accused the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of denying them the statutory 25% charge of the value on auctioned containers.

The operators, who condemned the impunity and lack of transparency by Customs in the auction exercise, also lamented that for several years, Customs has failed to keep to the agreement, which mandated it to pay a 25% charge from the value of all auctioned containers in the country.

The STOAN Spokesman, Bolaji Akinola who revealed this also noted that container terminals incur huge costs associated with the handling of overtime containers especially, with the positioning of containers selected by Customs for auctioning without any commensurate benefit, even after such containers were auctioned.

Mr. Bolaji Akinola

“Usually, it is after they (Customs) sell auctioned containers that they are supposed to pay the statutory 25%. But for years that they have been moving containers to Ikorodu, they have not paid us the statutory 25% of the auction value.

“It costs about $10 to lift a container once. For example, we may have to move seven or more containers to get to the one requested by Customs for auction and this comes at a huge cost. So it is causing big operational cost for us”, the Spokesman indicated, adding that containers are actually selected haphazardly, for auction.

“When overtime cargoes are to leave the port, they (Customs) should not pick a container that is 500 days and leave a container that is 1, 000 days old. Customs should abide by the contract and regulation guiding auction,” he said.

Akinola also urged Customs to immediately commence the auction of overtime cargoes, which he said it is threatening available space at the terminal.

According to him, “The problem of abandoned overtime cargo is not just affecting us; it is affecting the shipping industry. When you have a port that is congested with overtime containers, it is a recipe for disaster. For example, a terminal that has a capacity of say 500,000 TEUs but has been made to restrict its capacity because of the congestion is really a cause for worry.

“We also have several export containers which have been abandoned in the port as well and they are taking up available spaces. If we can get rid of these containers, we can take more boxes in, free up the Lagos road and congestion will not be at the port.”

 

Maritime

Reps Demand Restructuring Of Terminal Operators, NPA Licensed Agents

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Reps Demand Restructuring Of Terminal Operators, NPA Licensed Agents

 ..Says “Our goal is to effect changes that will restructure and position it to compete in the global space

The House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbour has demanded the restructuring of Terminal Operators and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Licensed Agents in the country.

Rep. Nnolin Nnaji, Chairman of the committee, disclosed this at the interactive session with terminal operators and NPA licensed agents in Abuja on Thursday.

“Our goal is to effect changes that will restructure the unique and high-tech sector and position it to strategically compete in the global space.

“This sector is very dynamic and we must constantly review the standards, facilities and operational guidelines to keep pace with its obtainable global best practices,” he said.

The lawmaker reiterated the committee’s readiness to ensure that the sector remained one of the best through appropriate legislation and oversight.

“This is to bequeath to Nigerians, ports and harbours that are properly regulated and better managed for greater efficiency.

“It is important to harmoniously promote the objective of professionalising the modus operandi of this sector to improve our country’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation.

“We intend to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the industry to ensure that appropriate avenues are created for economic development,” he said.

He said the committee was poised to make the ports a hub for better non-oil revenue generation, adding that the house would continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of ports, harbours and allied services.

In her contribution, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, Urunta Chinyere, advised terminal operators to adopt electronic mode of payment.

“This is to reduce human interface in their operations,” the officer said.

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Maritime

SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

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SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

…Sonny Eja is President, Ekere is 1st Vice President; Iroghama Ogbeifun is Chairman, Technical Committee

When Air Peace made its innocent maiden flight from Nigeria to London on March 30, 2024, the symbolical flight achieved two things: first, it broke the unholy equilibrium fare price amongst available airlines.

Secondly, the gesture sent some powerful signals to the entrenched operators, that a determined indigenous operator has finally berthed; and momentarily, the extortionate fare crashed…! Now, if we should replicate this very gesture in the maritime, with a provision of a ‘national’, but privately run vessels/ carriers, how far or fast would carriage charges crash?

The Air Peace has silently made a deafening statement: no amount of plea would crash prices, except the nation can assertively provide a functional alternative.

The distance between Lagos and London by flight is about 6 hours and 40 minutes. The distance between London and New York by flight duration is 7h 30m. So, how come the cost of flight from Lagos to London is always twice as much, compared to the cost of flight from London to New York…? 

The answer is simple: Nigeria is an orphan, and there is no effective competition to mitigate arbitrariness. In the maritime sector, however, the country’s fate is worse: shippers are paying twice for cargo freight. Same for handling charges. There was even a time they were paying for as ridiculous a charge as the ‘Weekend’ levy, in the event that you are unlucky to come for clearing by weekends!

 The growing inflation, the poor masses albatross is both artificial and conspiratorial!

First, government’s understanding of the industry is warped and its support, insignificant. The Government functionaries who should assist both the shippers and stakeholders were often either insincere, ignorant or easily cave in under politicians’ pressure. 

No one is as hopeful as the hunter’s wife: she knows her husband did not keep any beast in the forest, yet, she joyfully sings lullaby for the baby on the mat, as she washes the soup pot and grinds the pepper, as she awaits the husband’s return! And the hunter never disappoints.

It is in the same spirit, that shippers would tomorrow, celebrate the inauguration of the incoming President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria SOAN, Sonny Eja.

Those who know him at close range described him as a highly focused, truly inspired and totally committed investor, who never disappoints. He is sold to the cause of the shipping industry development. 

Unarguably, he is acknowledged as a resourceful long runner, who often is not only self-motivating, but equally enjoys the special ability to motivate others  Some said it is for this reason that he is so treasured, by the SOAN maiden Arrowhead and Nigeria’s foremost shipping magnate, Engr. Greg Utomwen Ogbeifun.

The President, fortunately, will be fully assisted by tested and trusted ship owners, with enviable skills and technical know-how.. promoters 

These include Dr Louis Ekere as SOAN’s 1st Vice President; Mr. Gbolahan Shaba, the 2nd Vice President; Mr.Babalola Adefariti – Financial Secretary/ Treasurer; Mr. Bem Garba –  Chairman, Training & Capacity building Committee; the shipping industry Amazon, Ms.  Iroghama Ogbeifun as Chairman Technical Committee; Ms. Bassey Adie -Chairman, Ethics & Privileges Committee; and finally, Mr. Emmanuel Okene, who is the Chairman, Finance and membership Committee.

The Doyen of the Maritime industry, High Chief Adebayo Babatunde Sarumi once congratulated SOAN for lifting Nigeria off the lackluster club of 10-Percenters. 

Now, the whole nation would probably look up to SOAN, to midwife a ‘national carrier’ and permanently crash the menace of intractable inflation!

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Maritime

Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

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Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

Mr Chedi Wada, the outgoing Comptroller of the Federal Operations Units (FOU) Zone “B”, Kaduna says smugglers are now altering vehicles’ chassis numbers in the bid to perpetuate their nefarious activities.

Wada spoke to newsmen on Wednesday in Kaduna after handing over the leadership of the unit to his successor, Mr  Ahmadu Shuaibu.

He, therefore, underscored the importance of public awareness and compliance with government policies.

Wada reflected on the myriad of achievements and challenges encountered during his tenure.

He commended the resilience of his team in tackling the hurdles posed by nationwide border closures.

According to him, with unwavering support from the Comptroller-General  (CGC), Mr Bashir Adewale, saying that they have successfully curbed smuggling activities within the zone.

He said,  “FOU Zone ‘B’ Kaduna is now well-equipped and effectively managed, marking significant strides during my six-month stewardship.”

Wada acknowledged the pivotal role of the media in showcasing the unit’s efforts while urging the officers to prioritize knowledge acquisition and diligent execution of duties.

He said, “Total commitment and dedication have been the cornerstone of my successes.”

Wada also urged  his colleagues to follow suit,  disclosing that with his redeployment to the NCS Headquarters in Abuja, he will work under the Enforcement, Investigation, and Inspectorate Unit

He also assured of his continued dedication to service, WARING smugglers that his successor is an enforcement expert who is prepared to take charge.

Wada expressed confidence in the incoming comptroller’s abilities to build upon the foundation laid, signalling tough times ahead for the smugglers.

Wada’s redeployment marked the end of his duty of combating smuggling and fostering organizational commitment within FOU Zone “B” Kaduna.

It was reported that until his redeployment, Shuaibu was the Comptroller, Ogun I Area Command, Idi-Iroko. 

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