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Terminal operators owe FG N86.2bn Ports charges, fees

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  • As Petrol hits N120 per litre in Ibadan

Terminal operators in Nigeria are currently indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of $433.4 million, about N86.2 billion, for lease and container throughput fees as at December 2015, Financial Vanguard investigation has revealed.

But most of the terminal operators when contacted said they were up to date with their payments to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). The terminal operators allegedly indebted to government are  AP Moller Terminals, Five Star Logistics, BUA Limited, ENL, Apapa Bulk Terminal, Greenview Development Nigeria.

Others are Josephdam Terminal, Tin Can Island Container Terminal, Port and Cargo Handling Services and Port and Terminal Multi-purpose Services Limited.  The debts are accumulated fees, charges and rentals that are yet to be paid into the purse of the federal government, owner of the ports that were concessioned to terminal operators.

A breakdown of the amount being owed to government as at December 2015 showed that the top three debtors are AP Moller Terminal that owes a total of $1.8 million, Five Star Logistics whose lease, throughput fees stand at $6.4 million while N13.6 million debt in movable assets was recorded against BUA Limited.

Other debtors are ENL whose indebtedness to the government stands at $2.3 million,   Apapa Bulk Terminal debt was put at $2.9 million, Greenview Development Nigeria Limited owed a sum of $4.3 million while $476,016.52 was also recorded against Josephdam terminal.

Also indebted to the government are Tin Can Island Container Terminal, (TICT), Port and Cargo Handling Services   owned by Sifax Group,   and Port and Terminal Multi-purpose Services Limited (PTML)   $1.5 million, $4.4 million , $746,896.08 and Royalties of N766.3 million respectively.

According to data sighted by Financial Vanguard, Port and Terminal Operators Nigeria Limited owed a total of N15.5 billion in throughput, lease, fees and monies accruable to movable assets.

For the West African Terminal, (WACT), it owed a total of N19.12 million in cargo dues and $9.9 million as amortized dues as at the month of December of 2015, while operations of the Integrated Logistics Nigeria Limited, popularly called Intels had an outstanding bill of over $38,000.00 and over $842,000.00 in its Federal Lighter and Federal Ocean terminals on Onne, Rivers State.

A total of $139,854.19 was recorded against Brawal’s operations at the Kirikiri Lighter Berths Phase One terminal in Lagos during the period under review outstanding lease and throughput fees, while Intels operations in Delta ports had a total of $2,364,884.71 recorded against it.

For its operations in terminal ‘B’ in Delta ports, Intels incurred a debt of over $4.3 million in lease and throughput fees including penalty on Gross Metric Tonnage (GMT). Nigeria’s construction giant, Julius Berger also owed the government a total of $232,983.59 as debt recorded against its name for throughput and lease fees for the same month of December of 2015.

For Associated Maritime Services (AMS) that operates in Delta ports owed about $314,000.00 while Greenleigh Ports Services Nigeria Limited whose license has been revoked due to non-performance, owed a total of $1.512, 477.70 for lease and throughput fees.

For lease, throughput fees and payment of some movable assets, Ecomarine Terminal operating in the Calabar Port Complex owed a total of $23,187,599.43 in the period under review.

Besides the indebtedness of Intels in Onne and Delta ports, it also owed the government by virtue of its operation in Calabar a total $774,215.30 as at December of 2015.

The sum of $995, 093.78 was also recorded against Shoreline Logistics Nigeria Limited as at December 2015. Commenting on the development, a logistics expert, Mr. Lucky Amiwero said that the amount could be more than that as there are no agencies monitoring their activities, including the financial returns of these terminal operators.

He suggested that the terminal operators must be made to give proper accounts of their activities for the years they have operated the ports. Also commenting on the matter, another logistics expert, Dr. Alban Igwe said that the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority should be blamed for the development adding that there is a contractual agreement with the terminal operators.

“These operators are not operating on their own; they did not just get into the ports and started operating. The Nigerian Ports Authority is the landlord to the various port operators, they should be able to collect their dues as at when due except these fees have been converted to credit facilities.

We have to investigate the matter and if it is a credit facility given to terminal operators to operate more efficiently or that it was due to inefficiency of NPA that has made it unable to collect the debt owed by the concessionaires.”

He explained that port services has two dimensions, which include the international and the local, adding that if the state of the port is in dire need of infrastructure, it will affect cargo throughput and bring about cargo diversion.

In an effort to get comments from the NPA, its spokesman, Captain Ihenacho Ebubeogu, General Manager in charge of Public Affairs department of the authority asked that Financial Vanguard text the enquiry to him so as to get more detailed information from the accounts department.

But as at the time of writing the report, there was no response. Speaking in defence of Intels, Mr. Sambol Isidore said that he was not aware of any indebtedness of Intels to NPA adding that if anybody was owing, it will be NPA that would be indebted to Intels.

“As far as our records show, NPA owe us a lot, we have a lot to reconcile with NPA, because I cannot believe that Intels is operating somewhere and is owing lease fee. “Besides, the accounts reconliation is an on-going process between the parties.

“On the throughput, fees are calculated based on volumes and that was why we kept talking about oil and gas cargo. “When they give the lease, assumptions are made over the period of the lease and if all things go well the accruable lease fees can be calculated.

“We keep talking about oil and gas cargo, that was the point we were making, our terminal is for oil and gas. If we don’t have the throughput coming into our port, how do we make the money to pay NPA?”

Efforts to reach Mr. Muyiwa, spokesman for Sifax Group, owners of Port and Cargo Handling Services Limited was futile as his phone was switched off when Financial Vanguard called.

Speaking in defence of Ecomarine, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke said that the firm has paid all its dues to NPA. Anaroke explained that the Compliance and Monitoring Committee from the NPA commended the firm for being up to date with their payment.

When the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello was contacted for comments, he was said to be unavailable as he was out of the country.

In the meantime, scarcity of petrol in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has forced an  increase in the pump price of the product. It is now selling at N120 per litre.

With most filling stations still closing their gates to motorists for the fifth day, the few that sold the product yesterday witnessed long queues of motorists, who struggled to buy the product.

In most areas, the scarcity forced the price of the product to between N110 and N120 per litre. Yet, hapless motorists queued up to buy.

The few stations selling the product at the high price were independent marketers.

But all BOVAS filling stations kept to the official price of N65.50k though its supplies fell short of demand by motorists.

An independent marketer, who craved anonymity, said the scarcity was a mark of the lingering problem in the oil sector.

He said the sector requires policy reform and transparency.

Vanguard with additional report from Nation

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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