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Congestion: Customs begins movement of overtime cargo at port

 …says Shipping Coys to pay for empties

    *Service nets over N5b daily

ACG KC Ekekezie, Coordinator Customs Zone A, with NAGAFF Founder, Chief Boniface Aniebonam
  in a group photograph with customs officers and NAGAFF executives
after an interactive session at the NAGAFF Village, Apapa
The Nigeria Customs Service on Thursday
said it would commence the movement of overtime cargoes from the PTML Port from
next week Monday, as part of its ongoing efforts in creating conducive business
environment for trade promotion.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Rtd.
Col. Hameed Ali, disclosed this at an interactive session with freight
forwarders at the National Approved Government Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF)
Headquarters in Apapa Lagos.

Represented by the Assistant Comptroller
General of Customs Zone ‘A’, Kaycee Ekekezie, Ali said the overtime cargoes
would be moved to the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal as the ports no longer had the
traditional government warehouses for such cargoes.

Responding to questions on how to address the
issue of empty containers, the CGC faulted the shipping companies for failing
one a vital responsibility.

He said: “Why do we have congestion at the
port? One is because the shipping companies no longer do what they should. We
will address that.

“For example, a shipper brings in 200
containers and he comes to drop them at a terminal, instead of carrying the
same number of empty containers he would start doing posting. That is why we
kept having a build-up of empty containers.

“If the shipping companies don’t want to
carry their empties we will make them to start paying for them.”

He said that trade traditions made room for
government warehouses in the ports because “it is possible that all containers
in a particular voyage will not go immediately.”

Acknowledging improvement in trade
compliance, the CGC disclosed that the customs nets a daily revenue of over N5
billion, and noted that “therefore, with due compliance to import and export
regulations, processes and procedures, proper documentation and correct
description of items imported and exported for customs purposes, we will achieve
higher results.”

Speaking, the Founder of NAGAFF, Chief
Boniface Aniebonam, encouraged freight forwarders on the need and importance of
trade compliance, in order to carry out their operations without harassment from
the authorities.

Aniebonam, however, frowned on the
non-engagement of freight forwarders by customs before any upward review was
done in the exchange rate for trade purposes.

The Founder also wants the Customs Service to deal with
the issue of having freight forwarders travel all the way to Abuja for renewal
of licences when that could be done through automated system in the zonal
office in Lagos.

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