Agents Query Ports & Cargo, Bollore Logistics Over 400 Trapped Containers
Freight agents practising at the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) in Lagos State have lampooned Ports and Cargo, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, for seizing over 400 containers at its terminal in Tin Can Island Port for over three months.
The aggrieved freight forwarders under the aegis of Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (AREFFN) stormed SIFAX headquarters and Bollore Logistics to express their dissatisfaction.
Over 400 containers scheduled for transfer to Bollore Logistics company in Kirikiri have been abandoned in Ports and Cargo terminal without genuine reasons as freight agents are subjected to colossal sums as storage charges.
MMS Plus gathered that the freight forwarding group had sent several petitions to the terminal operator and the nation’s port economic regulator, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) before embarking on a peaceful protest yesterday.
Speaking with our correspondent on the issue, the Chairman of KLT Chapter of AREFFN, Mr. Jude Chukwuka said the exercise was done to correct the anomaly being perpetuated by Ports & Cargo and Bollore Logistics.
However, after meeting with managerial representatives from both companies, he concluded that both organizations weren’t operating in harmony as there were sharp differences in their postulations which should have been averted via proper dialogue.
According to Chukwuka, Ports & Cargo accused Bollore of not bringing barges to take delivery of the containers and scarcely providing low capacity barges to take 15-20 containers when the terminal had over 60 containers for such trip on every occasion.
As a result of this logistics challenge, some KLT destined cargoes have been piling up at Ports & Cargo since November 2020. These boxes have also been stacked up in a way that becomes difficult to access when barges arrive, Ports & Cargo claimed.
Meanwhile, industry observers have frowned at Ports & Cargo’s strategy of demanding storage charges for goods yet to reach the designation as requested by importers and freight agents.
Bollore, however, argued that it frequently sends barges to Ports & Cargo but the company is always reluctant to load the containers destined to KLT.
Investigations by our correspondent showed that Bollore already has space constraints at the Kirikiri facility, while Ports & Cargo has been dissatisfied with Bollore’s strategy of using small barges which always arrive with empty containers for the terminal’s congested area.
When contacted, the General Manager, Corporate Communications at SIFAX Group, Mr. Muyiwa Akande told MMS Plus that the conflict has been resolved as Ports & Cargo assured the aggrieved agents that it would prioritize KLT cargoes as soon as barges arrive.
He, however, couldn’t disclose the extent of waivers to be granted freight agents who have been victims of the logistics quagmire since November, last year.
Noting that several consignments have been diverted to Ports & Cargo from other terminals as a result of congestion, the SIFAX spokesman stressed that the affected terminals should iron out a strategy to deliver the cargoes.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Shippers’ Council has frowned at this development as the Director, Consumer Affairs, Chief Capitan Agu told MMS Plus that the Council would initiate investigations on the development.
When quizzed on the response of the Council to earlier petitions on the issue by freight forwarders, Agu stated that he wasn’t privy to such information as he is currently on leave.