Congestion is building up at the Tincan Island Container Terminal, at Tincan Island Port as licensed customs agents have lamented that they currently wait for weeks before cargoes are positioned for examination.
Media source gathered that this development comes months after Mediterranean Shipping Company dumped Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group at Tincan Island port for the TICT also at Tincan.
A source close to Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited confirmed to our correspondent that the terminal had lost 18,000 containers and 96 vessels in the last one month due to Mediterranean Shipping Company’s decision to dump the terminal.
Though the source didn’t disclose the reason the shipping company parted ways Ports & Cargo Handling Services, media gathered that the terminal currently depends on other little shipping companies to stay in business.
“We have a business challenge with our main business partner, which is MSC. They are like our mainstay in the terminal. So, we have a big challenge with them. There are some business issues. This business challenge has affected over affected us.
“MSC is like our main line. So, since they stopped coming, they have taken over TICT. All the volumes that are supposed to come to us have gone to them. So, we are just trying to manage some little shipping lines,” the source explained.
According to the source, Ports & Cargo Handling Services used to receive an average of five to eight vessels per month, each carrying 800 to 1500 containers.
“MSC has taken over Bollore Africa Investments so by extension they took over the management of TICT terminal,” the source added.
The source also said that the shipping company had further stopped taking exports from the Ports & Cargo Handling Services terminal.
The source asserted, “So, we have a business challenge as of now. If it was when MSC was still there, they give us the volumes And now recently MSC have stopped taking exports through our terminal.”
Reacting to this, the Deputy National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Nnadi Ugochukwu, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, said, “I have a container to examine. I went there on Tuesday, asking for my container to be examined. Instead of them to put it on Wednesday, they said they will position it for examination on Saturday.
“I asked them why they said they have a backlog of containers to be positioned. I was not happy because for those four days they delayed they were still charging me demurrage.”
Also, a former Public Relations Officer of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited Chapter, Mr Adeola Suleiman, said, “It is true. Currently, at TICT, it takes weeks before you can get a date for positioning your container for examination while the container is accumulating demurrage. It takes unnecessary days.
“As the terminal is charging you for demurrages, the shipping company is charging you too. When you calculate what we pay in demurrage to these people, including value-added tax and every other thing, it is running into billions.”
Meanwhile, at a sensitisation program for stakeholders on consumers’ rights and responsibilities in the ports and shipping sector, the Managing Director of MSC Nigeria, Mr Andrew Lynch, said MSC vessels don’t call at Apapa Port.
He noted that any cargo destined for APMT in Apapa would be stepped down to a bonded terminal under Apapa and the cargo owner would bear the cost.
Lynch, who was represented at the event by his Customer Service Manager, Mr Olumide Adefisan, said “Many importers still put Apapa Port as the Port of Destination on their Bill of Laden for their cargoes even when such cargoes are being shipped on MSC vessels.