NEWS

Port congestion looms as 8,000 vehicles arrive Monday amid strike

Apapa-wharf

Following the withdrawal of services by freight forwarders and clearing agents at both the Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited, and the Tin-Can Island ports in Lagos, the terminals may become congested as more ships berth in the coming days.

According to findings by our correspondent, about four ships carrying over 8,000 vehicles will berth at the two ports between Wednesday and Monday.

This came as port officials said the terminals were already battling capacity issues, noting that over 4,000 vehicle slots meant to have become vacant were still being occupied by vehicles.

According to shipping position data, four vessels, Paglia, Grande Sierra Leone, Grande Cotonou, and Grande Cameroon, will be coming with the Grimaldi shipping line to berth at the PTML between February 24th and 28th.  Each of the vessels is estimated to come with at least, 2000 vehicles.

Speaking on the effects of the withdrawal of services by the clearing agents, the Terminal Manager of PTML, Tunde Keshinro, said the terminal was battling to create vehicle slots for incoming ships.

According to him, the terminal has lost between 4,000 and 5,000 units of vehicle capacity since the strike started.

He said, “Of course, the terminal is getting congested now because we have ships that are coming but won’t have space to discharge the vehicles. That means the ships would be waiting outside and they won’t be able to call at the port to discharge, and that will affect our international schedule. If vehicles that are already in the car parks are not being delivered, how do you get space for the new arrivals? That means the new arrivals will not have space to park, so we won’t have space to discharge the ship. We have lost about four days now, and on average, we will be talking about 4,000 to 5,000 units of capacity that have been lost since last week Thursday. The job has not really been going on as expected so that is a lot of loss in capacity.”

He noted that the clearing agents had begun a protest since Thursday, adding the development had also marred activities at the terminal.

“We have our daily delivery capacity and since we have not been working to full capacity, our delivery capacity has been affected. Once delivery is not done to the expected level, it will lead to terminal congestion. Operators won’t be able to receive new arrivals. I can’t estimate the monetary value but I know it is a whole lot of money. This is not limited to the terminal alone, even the importers that are not able to have these vehicles on their car stands are affected. They are not able to meet their deadlines.”

On granting of a waiver on demurrage for cars in the terminal during the period of the current protest, he said, “For us, we are still studying the situation, so there is no firm decision taken yet. The issue is basically about the protest against Customs valuation implementation; so it has nothing to do with the terminal.”

Also speaking, the Customer Care Manager, Five Star Logistics Terminal, Tin-Can Island port, Chuks Okereafor, said that the terminal was almost filled up as well.

He, however, noted that the terminal is not expecting any ship until the first week of March, 2022.

Okereafor said, “I will say that we are almost two-thirds filled up. No vessel is waiting to berth in our terminal, they have all gone, the container ship belonging to MLC comes like two or three times a month, we just finished the last one and the vessel is gone. We are expecting RCC from the USA with over 2,000 vehicles; the ship is coming on March 2, 2022. Already, we have a container ship that has berthed; MLC Mila has already taken berth. The next Roll-On-Roll-Off is coming on March 2, and we other ships coming on March 7th and 10th.”

“The only thing is that we are not expecting any RORO until the first week of March. It is not as a result of the strike, it is already pre-planned. Most of our vehicles coming with RORO are supposed to be from March-the ones coming from Europe and America. So we are a bit lucky that we are not expecting any vessel.”

According to the Five Star manager, several vehicles have just arrived at the terminal.

“We are having a lot of vehicles at the terminal already, especially the new ones meant to be delivered within this week. But I don’t think they (agents) can take delivery if the strike continues” he said.

He, however, said the terminal was planning to grant a waiver to importers on delayed vehicles.

He said, “Definitely, we are going to grant a waiver and that is a very big loss to the company. We have sympathy for our customers because they have been with us, the management will always do something. We know the situation when it comes to trade. If there is no buyer there won’t be any seller. The cargoes are already in Nigeria, so the company will definitely do something about the waiver at the right time. The strike has a little bit affected delivery. When you don’t make delivery, there are losses. If you are supposed to deliver, for instance, 200 vehicles, and you can’t do that, it is a loss. When workers are paid without working, it is also a loss.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *