Freight forwarders bemoan low cargo clearing in Apapa port
Some concerned freight forwarders on Saturday bemoaned low number of containers cleared by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Apapa port.
The port users, who spoke on the challenges facing their operations in Lagos State, alleged that only between 38 and 40 containers were cleared by NCS for release daily, in spite of the automation of ports operations. “Risk Assessment Report (RAR), Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and the latest Nigeria Customs Integrated Service II are expected to speed up cargo transaction but to no avail.
“Clearing and release of containers daily become herculean and, most times, fruitless because of human interference, coupled with incessant system break down,” lamented Mr Osita Chukwu. Chukwu, the Convener, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, appealed to the NCS to make the port user-friendly to check loss of investment capital through undeserved demurrage. According to him, it behoves customs to support other agencies to be alert to their duties to ensure transparency and accountability in remittance of funds generated from cargo transactions.
Mr Obinna Okoroafor, who compared his experience at the Republic of Benin port to Nigerian ports, said that there was less human contact in the Cotonou port than the Apapa port. Okoroafor, a chieftain of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Ikorodu chapter, urged authorities at the Apapa port to employ automated platforms to hasten and ease process of doing business. “If everything is streamlined into a proactive and functional automated platform as witnessed in other countries, it will save us time and money too,” he said. Miss Debi Akinola, a Customs Broker, said that the Apapa port, a premier port in Nigeria, should be a model for others. Akinola said that agencies should appoint competent officers to efficiently manage the tasks at the Apapa port.