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Freight Forwarders Lose N40bn Deposit To Shipping Firms

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The Freight agents under the umbrella of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) say the Nigerian importers and their agents lost a whooping sum of N40bn as container deposit to the shipping companies operating in Nigeria in 2018.
National Vice President of the association, Kayode Farinto, disclosed this in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said that such deposits always got depleted while empty containers were lying on trucks waiting on queue for weeks to access the ports.
He revealed that the shipping companies had devised another trick to extort Nigerians saying, “when they realised that your container deposit has depleted and you are yet to return the empty container, they will now slam you with what is called container detention charge”.
While harping on the need to come to the aid of the Nigerian importers particularly the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), he urged government to come down heavily on the shipping companies that do not have holding bays.
“We are going to submit a memo on this, we are going to come down heavily on these shipping companies because they are extorting Nigerians and it is not as if they are investing anything per se but they are just milking Nigerians dry and they still repatriate this money abroad. It is very unfortunate,”farinto said in a statement made availabe to The Tide on Wednesday.
He frowned at the situation where customs officers at the ports would release a consignment only for another set of customs officers to arrest the same consignment, describing it as unthinkable and an eyesore.
According to him,” You will see a container that is leaving the ports, just in front of Area B, younger officers will be conducting examination. It is a barbaric situation, each time I pass there, I feel heavy burn in my heart but we decided to lie low because of the coming elections. The moment the elections are concluded, we are going to face ourselves on this.
“Once a cargo is released in the port, it is either you allow it to go to the consignees’ warehouse or don’t release the cargo. Anybody that wants to conduct examination should come to the port but a situation where a senior officer will release a cargo and just 20 metres to the seaport, if you go to Mile 2 too, you see officers conducting examinations, it is unhealthy and people are looking the other way and pretend as if all is well.
“A lot of things are happening in this industry that personally, I am not happy about, I am very sad about it and we are just waiting for the election to go; the moment election is concluded, we face ourselves squarely”.

Stories by Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

NPA Frowns Against Extortion Of Truck Drivers

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has threatened to sanction any staff that indulges in extortion of money from truck drivers at Apapa Port. 
The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Koko expressed optimism that the agency’s collaboration with the state government would bring an end to the perennial gridlock within and around the Apapa area.
The NPA boss emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, which are the two busiest ports in the country. 
He said NPA had been inundated with complaints of extortion from truckers, especially by security operatives, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
 He described the practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
“One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA security staff.
“This is one of the areas we require the intervention of government, because we have police officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this. We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this.
“We have moved some of them out of port locations, and we will do further reviews. Whoever is found involved would be appropriately sanctioned”, he said. 
The NPA boss acknowledged that the Lagos State Government had been a close partner in terms of enforcement, but asked for more intervention to end the menace. 
“NPA has reached out to the Federal Ministry of Works, we have been speaking with the Director of Works in the State, and we have asked that they should provide some palliatives around Sunrise Bus-stop.
“We were made to understand that the contract for that section of the road has just been awarded, but because of the rains, work has been delayed”, he added.

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Maritime

MWUN Tasks NIMASA, NIWA On Boat Drivers’ Training

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The Maritime and Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to train and retrain boat drivers in the country to reduce incessant accidents on our waterways.
MWUN said training and retraining of boat drivers would enhance their capability and efficiency in the industry and save lives.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Jonah Jumbo disclosed this during a telephone interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jumbo also advised NIMASA and NIWA to sanction any boat driver involved in over-speeding, overloading and reckless driving to reduce boat mishaps.
The chairman who regretted that most boat drivers lacked the skills and technical know-how to navigate the waters, said their human errors often caused accidents.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that regular training for boat drivers would enrich their skills and enable them to read the tide while on transit.
He frowned at the increasing rate of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways and urged all stakeholders to check the trend. 
The MWUN boss called on the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to arrest and prosecute any driver indulging in alcohol and overloading of passengers while on transit, adding that the act caused over seventy percent of water accident.
He appealed to drivers to desist from acts capable of causing accident, noting that many families have lost their loved ones through reckless driving and unholy acts caused by human errors on the waterways.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Sokoto To Boost Water Transport With Motorised Boats

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The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, says his administration will boost water transportation with motorised boats.
He also said his government would make life jackets available to all travellers and other water users to reduce boat mishap.
The governor stated this while commiserating with the people of Shagari Local Government Area that recently lost their loved ones in a boat mishap in the state. 
He regretted that the state had lost many lives to boat accidents and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear their loss.
Also speaking, Chairman, Shagari Local Government Council, Aliyu Dantine Shagari, said eight of the victims were married women while five were children and elderly men.
He attributed the cause of the boat mishap to overloading.
“But there are other causes of boat mishap including strong wind. We are still investigating the matter to know what actually led to the accident”, he said. 
The chairman advised boat drivers to desist from overloading and over speeding, noting that the community lost over six people in a similar accident last year.

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