The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, on Wednesday decried the sorry state of the nation’s seaport, saying the presence of about 6,000 unclaimed cargoes scattered around Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports in the Lagos area are impeding trade.
The minister made the remark while responding to questions from newsmen yesterday as he undertook a week-long tour of agencies under his watch in the Lagos area.
He said there is a need to engage the Nigeria Customs Service on the best ways to evacuate the cargoes in order to free up space at the ports.
The minister said: “In Apapa port, they took us to where we have overtime cargoes and they said some have been there since 2011. So I now want to believe that it is likely to happen in other ports. Particularly Tin-Can and Apapa ports they have about 6,000 abandoned cargoes.
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“You can imagine how much space the cargoes are occupying and the type of revenue the country is losing. So I am going to engage the management of the Nigeria Customs Service to see what we can do. There must be a time frame by which a cargo can stay otherwise declared abandoned. To have kept cargo since 2011, it is unrealistic and unacceptable,” he said.
According to the minister, long bureaucratic processes and corruption are some factors that have elongated cargo clearance time thereby frustrating shippers and leading to the jettisoning of containers at ports.
In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Emmanuel Jime, highlighted issues requiring attention to include the amendment of the NSC Act to institute effective port economic regulation.
He urged the minister on the actualization of the 1 per cent freight stabilization fee on import and export to the Shippers Council as enshrined in the NSC Subsidiary Legislation as well as the implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note and Establishment of a National Fleet.