Business Hilights
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NPA finally wields the big stick, suspends Cosco, Maerskline, APS, Lansal for 10 days

Relying on its earlier warning to shipping companies and terminal operators, the lead regulator at the Nigerian ports, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has announced a ten-day suspension of the services of Maerskline, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal with effect from today, July 14, 2018.

The sanction according to the Authority is part of efforts to resolve the protest by truck drivers at the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, Lagos.

The agency averred that its action stemmed from checks, “which revealed that the four companies have failed to fully comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays as they have either failed to utilise their holding bays at all or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with”.

Besides, NPA further explained that some of these companies have also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.

“These conducts have contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Port, spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis where truck drivers with no immediate business at the ports now park their trucks”.

NPA further averred that “At the expiration of this suspension, the Authority will review the level of compliance to its directives and determine further actions.

“In addition to this, the NPA will henceforth embark on a regular compliance check of the operations of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators and defaulters will be sanctioned.

“Stakeholders have also agreed that while the call up system through the ports management as advised by shipping companies will remain in force, personnel of the Nigerian Navy will discontinue the issuance of call ups, even though they will remain on the traffic management team.

“Finally, the Authority wishes to state that the planned introduction of a new service charge called “Empty positioning fee” by shipping lines is illegal and should not be honoured by any operator”.

Business Hilights recalls that NPA had earlier in the week handed down a stern warning to all concerned on its readiness to sanction erring groups and added that going forward, more sanction may lead to revocation of agreements or licences to operate in Nigerian ports.

Besides, efforts to get the official responses of the sanctioned firms failed Saturday morning in Lagos.