…says Shipping Coys to pay for empties
*Service nets over N5b daily
The Nigeria Customs Service on Thursday said it would commence the movement of overtime cargoes from the PTML Port from next week Monday, as part of its ongoing efforts in creating conducive business environment for trade promotion.
The Comptroller General of Customs, Rtd. Col. Hameed Ali, disclosed this at an interactive session with freight forwarders at the National Approved Government Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Headquarters in Apapa Lagos.
Represented by the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Zone ‘A’, Kaycee Ekekezie, Ali said the overtime cargoes would be moved to the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal as the ports no longer had the traditional government warehouses for such cargoes.
Responding to questions on how to address the issue of empty containers, the CGC faulted the shipping companies for failing one a vital responsibility.
He said: “Why do we have congestion at the port? One is because the shipping companies no longer do what they should. We will address that.
“For example, a shipper brings in 200 containers and he comes to drop them at a terminal, instead of carrying the same number of empty containers he would start doing posting. That is why we kept having a build-up of empty containers.
“If the shipping companies don’t want to carry their empties we will make them to start paying for them.”
He said that trade traditions made room for government warehouses in the ports because “it is possible that all containers in a particular voyage will not go immediately.”
Acknowledging improvement in trade compliance, the CGC disclosed that the customs nets a daily revenue of over N5 billion, and noted that “therefore, with due compliance to import and export regulations, processes and procedures, proper documentation and correct description of items imported and exported for customs purposes, we will achieve higher results.”
Speaking, the Founder of NAGAFF, Chief Boniface Aniebonam, encouraged freight forwarders on the need and importance of trade compliance, in order to carry out their operations without harassment from the authorities.
Aniebonam, however, frowned on the non-engagement of freight forwarders by customs before any upward review was done in the exchange rate for trade purposes.
The Founder also wants the Customs Service to deal with the issue of having freight forwarders travel all the way to Abuja for renewal of licences when that could be done through automated system in the zonal office in Lagos.