ABUJA, Nigeria – A member of the House of Representatives, Leke Abejide, has accused terminal operators at the Apapa Port of creating extortion scheme.
The lawmaker, who is the Vice Chairman, Committee on Customs at a press briefing on Monday at the National Assembly, accused MAERSK Line and AP MOLLER Terminals whom he said they are sisters companies of being responsible for the gridlock in Apapa.
Abejide said the congestion, which started about 4years ago started as a result of cyber breach into the system of the two entities,
“MAERSK Nigeria Limited is a shipping line operating on its own, according to them, but when there was a system collapse we discovered they are using the same system/server as those who have containers With MAERSK LINE, and could not release them for the period of time APMT system was shutdown.”
He further alleged that, “All these shipping companies brought in containers through importers who will be given certain number of days ranging from 14 days to 30 days to clear and then return the empty containers to either same Terminal inside the Port or their designated empty Containers Bay also within the perimeter of the Port.
“What the shipping lines ought to have done is to locate their Empty Containers Bay minimum at 100 kilometers away from the Port to make it accessible to trucks to drop easily and come back to load from the Port. However, because they do not want to spend money they asked importers /Agents to bring these empty Containers to inaccessible place, making the trucks line up With containers on them.
“The worst thing is, these shipping lines, which refused to do the right thing by locating their empty containers bay outside the Port area, say, 100 kilometers away or more will be calculating N21 ,400.00 per day on those containers on top of trucks. In this way, they are using the Trucks of the Agents/Importers as w and at the same time charging the same Importers/Agents for not returning the empty containers. This is a broad daylight robbery!”
He stated further that the gridlock will persist, as long as there is human contacts at the clearing area. He therefore called for total automation of the process.
“APMT/TlCT/WACT must automate their TDO (Terminal Delivery Order) which will be connected to their gate of entry and exit. What this mean is that once you have TDO to load, there is no need for any human contact along the road or at the gate for such truck to go in and load. It should be constant movement for trucks with valid tickets uninterrupted. Once the truck driver gets to the gate, he only needs to place the ticket at the gate and it’s automatedly opened for entry,” Abejide noted.
He also recommended the removal of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) from the gate.