MORE details of the harrowing experiences of stakeholders in the port services industry show that importers, through their various freight forwarders, lose about ₦100 million every week to Port Terminal Operators, PTOs, for Terminal Delivery Orders, TDO, not executed due to traffic gridlock.
TDOs are container turnaround orders issued to freight forwarders by PTOs with fixed time within which containers should be returned to the PTOs as well as deposit amount in lieu of the return of the container.
The PTOs have pegged the turn-around time at 21 days, though with the traffic situation it takes over 30 days to access the ports and evacuate the container, a situation which force the importers to lose the container deposits paid on their behalf by the freight forwarders.
The deposit is now ₦200,000 per 20ft container.
Speaking in a chat with newsmen, the Vice President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Western Zone, Ibrahim Tanko, said that they have appealed several times to the PTOs to stop taking advantage of the traffic situation to extort them.
He said: “We appealed to the terminal operators to give us extra one week after the expiration of TDOs. We normally deposit ₦200,000 per 20ft container, but we could not even pick our container and they will say our money has expired.
“We will be looking for truck for up to two weeks, either we have not seen any truck within that period or it does not have access to come into the port and before you know it the 21 days will expire. Even when they know that we cannot meet up with time for returning the empty containers they still charge us and collect the money.”
Tanko, who further disclosed that they lose up to N100 million every week, added that the terminal operators agreed to stop the charges only if they will stop paying charges of $300 per ship to the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
He said: “Every week we lose more than ₦100 million because of this issue. We have pleaded several times with the terminal operators but they refused on the ground that NPA are charging them $300 per ship and until NPA stops charging them, they will continue to charge.”
The implication is that the Terminal Operators will continue to charge the freight forwarders as high as they can in order to meet up with the fees they ought to pay to the NPA.
Tanko said that they have written to the NPA to call all the stakeholders in order to address the issue but they have refused.
“We have tried everything we could to possibly solve this problem but no results. We insisted on NPA to call everybody but they refused. The NPA is like the mother of all agencies in the port but they are not keeping up with their responsibilities by calling everybody to order.
“Our complaint has been with the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo since last week but there is no response up till now, so maybe when we withdraw our services everybody will understand our importance” Tanko declared.
Email us @ info[at]nigerians.news