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Minister laments abandonment of over 6,000 containers at Lagos ports

…blames bureaucratic bottlenecks, corruption for delay in cargo clearance

By Mercy Shoaga

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy,  Adegboyega Oyetola, has  lamented the abandonment of over 6000  containers at Apapa and tin-Can Island ports in Lagos.

The Minister, who was speaking on Tuesday while on a working visit to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Headquarters office in Lagos, blamed the development on bureaucratic bottlenecks as well as corruption as some of the root causes why shippers got frustrated and abandoned the containers.

Oyetola, however,  promised to engage with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to address the issues in order to evacuate the overtime cargoes.

His words: “I was told that some of these abandoned cargoes have been there since 2011. Why should we have cargoes dumped for that long? We would engage Customs to see how to evacuate these cargoes and prevent that from reoccurring.”

“Marine and Blue Economy has always been there, but we are just beginning to look at it in a more coordinated manner.

“This Marine and Blue Economy revolves around economic growth, improved standard of living and employment. I am charging us to be more creative by seeing ourselves as civil servants in business.”

Expressing his satisfaction about the Council’s activities, the Minister promised collaboration with the agency in tackling the drawbacks requiring immediate attention.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, highlighted issues requiring immediate attention to include the amendment of NSC Act to institute effective port economic regulation.

The Executive Secretary also sought the Minister’s attention to address other matters including; “actualization of one-per cent (1%) freight stabilization fee on import and export to Shippers Council as enshrined in the NSC Subsidiary Legislation; implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN); establishment of a National Fleet, among others.”

Jime said he was very much delighted at the Minister’s expression of commitment to economic transformation through the maritime sector.

In his own speech, Mr. Rotimi Anifowose, the Shippers’ Council’s Director of Strategic Planning and Research, highlighted some of the recent gains of the Agency to include promotion of digitalisation and automation of all port processes.

He said: “In order to reduce the incidences of human contact in cargo delivery and abolish manual documentation for efficient service delivery, the Council is promoting the Digitalization and Automation of all Port Processes in Nigeria. This resulted into the digitalization of all processes by providers of shipping and ports services.”



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