Business Hilights
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Cargo throughput gradually peaking up at ports, after ban on car imports from borders

Emerging developments around the Apapa and Tincan island ports of Lagos have shown appreciable arrival of vessels indicating signs of return of freight business in the industry.

Freight forwarders who spoke with our correspondents say there had been rising boom in the past two weeks as more vessels return to the seaports.

The new waves of improvements are being traced to the settling or the disruptions trailing the ban imposed on importation of cars through the land borders by the federal government earlier in the year.

Business Hilights recalls that after the ban, the managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said the reforms coming from her master plan has positioned the ports to handle any volume of activities with ease.

A Freight forwarders told our reporter in Apapa that the main cause of the drop in port activities stemmed from several policies articulated by the government in 2014 which cut across the National Automotive Industry Policy leading to a hike in import duty on cars, the rice policy and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s restriction of access to foreign exchange for some categories of imports, plunged the sector into deeper distress.

The developments fueled massive loss of jobs in the sector and converted Apapa to a silent axis as companies either folded or relocated to other areas where many of them joined in other businesses.

Besides, within the period, terminals at the ports reportedly witnessed over 50 per cent drop in vehicle imports that triggered low business activities at the ports. The situation became even more exacerbated by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s restriction of access to foreign exchange for 41 items of imports.

The forwarder added that the situation led to the flight of importers to seaports of neighbouring countries where they cleared their cargo before transporting same to Nigeria by road.

But other followers of activities at the ports say what seems to be driving renewed importation activities is growing confidence in the policies of the federal government in port reforms driven by NPA and Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC) in the last one year.

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