Shippers in the country have flayed the long cargo dwell time (CDT) in the nation’s seaports situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Sapele, Onne, Calabar and Warri.
The Shippers, under the aegis of the Association Lagos State (SALS) expressed concern about the long CDT in most terminals in the nation’s seaports. President of SALS, Mr. Jonathan Nicol, who stated this in Lagos expressed dismay that in some terminals in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos, consignments stay as long as 21 days before they are attended to.
“Before concession, shippers were happy with the operations of Nigerian Ports Authority. The cost of doing business then was very reasonable. The only complaint then was lack of equipment. So cargo delivery time was 14 days. Now that the ports have been concessioned, cargo delivery remains between 14 and 21 days, which means no meaningful improvement has taken place on cargo dwell time,” he said.
According to him, the only exemption to this malaise is Ports and Terminal Multi-Service Limited (PTML) at the Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos, where cargo dwell time was less than 14 days.
In order to improve CDT, he enjoined terminal operators to ensure that containers were transferred to other less busy terminals in the country.
As part of the measures aimed at repositioning the maritime industry, he called on the federal government to appoint professionals to head maritime agencies. He argued that appointing professionals to head the parasatals in the Federal Ministry of Transport would enable the maritime industry to flourish and yield the desired benefits for Nigeria nay Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Thailand has struck preliminary deals to export a total of 760,000 tonnes from its huge stockpiles to several countries in Africa. The Thai Rice Exporters Association said the rice would be supplied to Nigeria, Mozambique, and South Africa.
This is coming despite the ban placed on importers of rice, and other items from the official foreign exchange market by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Reuters quoted Honorary President of the association, Chukiat Opaswong, in a phone interview from Johannesburg, saying most of the rice going to Africa is parboiled and shipments will start in September.
The rice would be sold at around $430 a tonne netting the government more than $325 million.
Nigeria is one of the major importers of the commodity from Thailand importing about one million tonnes of rice valued at about $700 million every year.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Tuesday bemoaned the high bill on rice importation which had resulted in huge unsold stock of rice cultivated by indigenous farmers as well as low operating capacities of the many integrated rice mills in the country.
A research by Bloomberg revealed that Thailand Government currently holds around 17.8 milliom tons in stock piles and was keen on selling 10 million tons of stockpiled rice in 2015 and around seven million in 2016 through tenders.
With Agencies Reports