Port congestion looms due to un-cleared cargoes

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There are indications that a fresh port congestion era is looming following a build up of un-cleared cargoes that arrived the country in the last two weeks. The development was as a result of the #EndSARS protest and a subsequent massive civil unrest, leading to shut down of logistics movements and business activities especially in Lagos.

President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike, said that the entire country is in a confused state hence the need for the group to put its house before the congestion becomes an issue.

Nwabunike also said that he has been meeting with Chapter Chairmen of the association across the nation via Zoom to harmonise the influx of cargoes and work out strategies to move against congestion.

He explained the situation is a general one as every port in the country is affected by the situation. The group’s president said that the association will also engage the government over the looming port congestion at the appropriate time adding that the government is currently in disarray.

He said: “We are always meeting via Zoom, discussing and trying with Chapter Chairmen to find a way out of the looming port congestion.

“We enumerate these problems and moving into the various ports to ascertain the level of influx of cargoes into these ports so as to find ways of averting a port congestion crisis.

“By this evening, I will give a much clearer report because the whole situation is a general one as it is all over the country. ”

As I am receiving reports from Kano, I am also receiving reports from Calabar, Warri, Port-Harcourt and Lagos because last week, no work was done by any clearing agent.

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“We will definitely engage government on this matter, but now we cannot open discussion with government because the government is currently in total disarray as all the Ministers and the heads of government agencies have been directed to go to their villages.

“We need to give government some time because we also need to be prepared and gather whatever information we need to discuss with them.”

Also speaking on the development, Chairman of the Port Consultative Council, PCC, Otunba Kunle Folarin, said that the looming congestion could be caused by three factors, namely, Bunching, (meaning that several vessel arriving at the same time), so the berths may not have the space to receive them; un-cleared cargoes due to congestion in the port corridor and at anchorage.

Folarin also said that congestion could be caused at arrival or from outside the ports. He was of the opinion that the low level activity of the terminal operators is the most common cause of port congestion in Nigeria.

He said: “Sometimes the amount of vessels inside the ports could be more than the ones outside.

“So the other one is that cargoes that have been discharged are not leaving the port because of congestion in the port corridor.

“So congestion can happen in three phases, one at anchorage, in the port at the berths and in the port corridor outside the port.”

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