By Kenneth Jukpor
Following numerous constraints which have made cargo delivery and evacuation problematic at SIFAX 2 bonded terminal and Unity bonded terminal, freight forwarders have called for the revocation of these companies’ licenses.
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team made this call yesterday, even as the group addressed a letter of petition to the leadership of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Addressing journalists during a press conference yesterday, the National Coordinator of the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko stated that over five bonded terminals operating in Lagos have no reasons to be licensed by Customs.
Tanko noted that the group singled-out SIFAX 2 Bonded Terminal and Unity Bonded Terminal because they have gathered proof of the inefficiencies at both facilities.
“We have evidence against these two terminals. There is no forklift at Unity bonded terminals and SIFAX 2 in Okota has over 100 complaints from freight forwarders. We went to SIFAX under the rain and they couldn’t drop containers because of the rain. If they try it, the container would be submerged,” he said.
In a petition against the flooded and unequipped bonded terminals titled; “Petition Against Flooded/Unequipped SIFAX 2/Unity Bonded Terminals In Lagos”, obtained by our correspondent, the group lamented high suffering of its members, other freight agents, port users as well as the Customs officers serving at the terminals.
“It may interest you to know that our containers are being dropped on flooded grounds for examination and you must put on a rain boot to be able to access the terminal. This has led to some of the examined container contents being damaged, especially those in cartons and thereby creating problems between our members and our clients.”
“At Unity bonded terminal, there’s no forklift to bring out palletized goods for examination, and this has kept us down for weeks while the demurrage continues to rise at terminal and shipping company. Same scenario goes to Sifax 2 bonded terminal, Okota where you get a flooded, marshy and smelly ground floor,” the petition addressed to the Customs Area Controller, Apapa, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta read.
The freight forwarding group stated that it would shutdown both organizations if the problem persists by restructing freight agents and importers access to the affected bonded terminals.
Efforts to get reactions from both organizations were futile at presstime, however, the General Manager of Corporate Communications, SIFAX Group, Mr. Muyiwa Akande pleaded for more time to make findings on the complaints raised by the aggrieved freight agents.
Tanko also seized the opportunity to introduce newly appointed operational officers of the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, charging them to be diligent and patriotic in the discharge of their duties.