Customs Threatens To Shut Apapa Container Terminal
LAGOS – The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on. Tuesday threatened to shut down Nigeria’s largest container terminal operated by APM Terminal Apapa Limited over inadequate seaport infrastructure provided by the concessionaire.
Speaking to freight forwarders and other maritime stakeholders at an industry forum on the newly introduced customs portal, the Nigerian Trade Hub and the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), in Lagos, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Abdullahi Inde Dikko said the terminal which handled about 70 per cent of the container traffic in Nigeria, had failed to improve its port infrastructure despite several inspections by ministers who had stressed the need to do so.
He noted that in order to help the situation at the terminal, the Customs had transferred more than 5,300 containers out of Apapa to offdock terminals in Lilypond and Kirikiri Lighter Terminal in the last two months as a temporary measure to ease the tension caused by delay in cargo clearance due to inadequate cargo handling equipment at the terminal.
Nigeria Customs plans to replace the Risk assessment Report (RAR) with the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) when the service shall take over the destination inspection scheme.
Comptroller Dikko said, “I will close down the terminal until the condition that Customs officers can operate properly is met. Many ministers have come here and reported this same issue, but things refuse to get better in this terminal.
“This issue of APMT, I have said it times without number, we all allowed them to be doing what they do in Nigeria; they cannot go to any other country and operate the way they operate here. It is only when you give them work that they can operate, if you don’t bring containers they cannot operate. Tell your importers to desert them; they are not the only people carrying containers.”
The freight forwarders, who took turns to speak at the meeting expressed happiness with the bold steps promised by the CGC.
APM Terminal is a sister company with Maerskline, a major shipping line bring up to 90 per cent of the container cargo to the terminal.
– THE LEADERSHIP