A clearing and forwarding agent, Mr. Enebong Usanga, has said that the refusal of shipping companies to carry empty containers after discharging incoming ones are responsible for the container longjam on Lagos roads.
Usanga, who stated this in a chat with sur correspondent in Lagos said: “the secret of the many empty containers on our roads is that unlike before when every incoming ship after offloading its contents carry empty containers back, now the shipping companies refuse loading empty containers on outgoing ships in order for it to accrue demurrage for them”.
Usanga said for now, empty containers deposits ranges from N400,000 to N600,000 depending on the destination.
According to him, “ when we started this job over thirty years ago, if a ship comes in with 2000 units of containers, it also loads 2000 empties when going back, Then there was no empty containers loitering the roads.
“But now because the shipping companies collect as much as N 600, 000 as empty containers deposits, when a ship births and offloads, they don’t carry empty containers again, either they go empty or move to neighbouring countries to carry empty containers back, leaving the ones in Nigeria so that they can accrue demurrage or to forfeit your deposits as demurrage.
“This is the reap off, the shipping companies have been enjoying and this is the real reason they don’t want to have empty containers loading bay,” Usanga explained.
He called on the Federal Government to intervene, noting that things would get out of hand in the maritime industry, if nothing is done in gently.
In the past one week, over 14, 000 containers have been jam-packed in Lagos roads blocking major roads leading to parts of Lagos.
Just last week, the truck owners and drivers went on strike and protested amidst massive extortions from security agencies.
It will be recalled that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo recently visited the Apapa area of Lagos State, where the trucks were parked and gave an order on the movement of the trucks.
Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos