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No containers to bring in cargoes trapped in China: Shippers Council

The Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL) has bemoaned the unavailability of empty containers to transport cargoes trapped in China into Nigeria as one of many challenges facing their sector. 

Jonathan Nicole, President of SAL, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday, said Nigeria has over 10,000 idle containers that were of no use since they cannot be transported to China and Europe to bring in cargoes.

SAL also decried the lack of support from the state and federal governments, adding that they had given so much and expected government to reciprocate their efforts with some palliatives to shippers. 

The organisation said shippers pay too many bills, adding that what they used to spend like N10,000 on before has now gone to about N200,000.

They also decried the slow pace of ongoing construction works on the West Minister end of the TinCan Island road, noting that if care was not taken, the TinCan Island Port would be affected.

“The bad road makes our goods to fall off the trucks and this is a big challenge for shippers because their goods are not guaranteed. Insurance will say its a natural consequence because the roads are not part of what they insured,” the organisation said.

The shippers said if the government looked into the challenges they were facing, their sector was willing to contribute to Nigeria’s economy, same way as the oil and gas, and customs were doing.

Mr Nicole said, if customs could generate about N2 trillion, agencies like Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) could equally generate huge sums.

“Looking at the income of Nigeria Customs Service, they were able to rake in N2 trillion, it shows how dynamic Nigerian importers and shippers are.

“In spite of the enormous challenges, the constant increase in income of the customs remains the same. So we commend the efforts of the trading community, they have done well.

“We feel that we should have been able to do more to support the government but the challenges are enormous sometimes we wonder if the country cares, because the bills we pay are also enormous.

“This is in spite of the fact that we try as much as possible to cooperate with government regulations and keep up with the expectations of government,” he said.

The group said there were many agitations with the shipping and terminal operators who increased their prices in 2021, adding that the government need to fine-tune the processes in cargo clearance. 

(NAN)

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