Freight forwarders operating at the Ikorodu terminal have debunked claims that the overtime cargo section of the terminal has been filled to the maximum capacity as alleged by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman stated that the overtime cargo section at the Ikorodu Terminal had reached the maximum capacity while addressing an executive delegate from the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) who paid her a courtesy visit on Monday.
However, freight forwarders at Ikorodu have expressed worry on the veracity of the information availed the NPA boss on the matter, as they insist that the Ikorodu facility, especially the overtime cargo section has been grossly underutilized.
Speaking with MMS Plus shortly after the meeting with the NPA Managing Director on Monday, the Chairman of the Ikorodu Chapter of NAGAFF, Mr. Obinna Okafor said, “I’m not happy with the information we are getting from NPA. Contrary to what the NPA Managing Director said, the overtime cargo section of Ikorodu terminal isn’t filled up. In fact, the terminal is still grossly underutilized”
Noting that the meeting NAGAFF had with the NPA boss wasn’t just for Ikorodu issues, the Ikorodu Chapter Chairman said that he has made efforts to get another appointment with the Managing Director to explain the actual problems at Ikorodu.
Speaking further on the issue, Okafor said, “Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is saying that it needs more time at Ikorodu as they intend to make the place government warehouse. This provision is in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA). So, there’s no way we have to wait for Customs auction before we facilitate trade in that area. The procedure is too long and cumbersome and the goods can’t be in the terminal operators custody while that happens”
Earlier the NPA Managing Director, Usman had proposed on the spot auction of the overtime cargoes by Customs.
Usman said, “We have asked Customs to auction the cargoes inside the ports as it were, because the Ikorodu warehouse is already full, the last time auction was done was in 2015. We have written to the Customs that there is need to auction cargoes on the spot. I believe this is something they are planning to do because the port location is congested as the overtime cargoes haven’t been auctioned”
The NPA boss also stressed that parts of the Ikorodu terminal have also been allocated for other activities which include agriculture processing.
“Recall that part of the executive order required that NPA designates a terminal for agriculture processing and NPA designated the Ikorodu terminal. Consequently, we are rehabilitating the facility and the constructors have done 80% of the work which would enable us have a facility for agric processing”
“In addition, we are also using the Ikorodu terminal for cargo evacuation using barges as a result of the challenges with accessing Lagos ports via the roads. We have started inflow and outflow of cargoes through the Ikorodu area and that is another additional need. Ikorodu isn’t totally designated for overtime cargoes but there’s a portion for this and that portion is full” she added.