To avert the imminent loss of jobs and huge revenue to neigbbouring countries’ ports as ships queue endlessly at the Lagos, Port Harcourt and Onne anchorages following the congestion at the respective ports, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has urged the Federal Government to divert the many waiting vessels to other eastern ports.
If the call is heeded, however, “it will make for even distribution of maritime trade among the cities where ports are domiciled while opening the economy to fresh business opportunities,” ANLCA National President, Tony Iju Nwabunike, noted in a statement.
According to him, trucks and other heavy duty vehicles have amassed at the Lagos, Port Harcourt and Onne port roads as many ships wait to berth, thereby obstructing cargo-laden trucks and impeding the ongoing rehabilitation of the Lagos port access roads.
Therefore, “we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct that ships waiting on Lagos and Port Harcourt anchorages be diverted within a period of three months to ports in Warri, Delta State and Calabar, Cross River State.
“Nigeria-bound cargoes are presently being diverted to Duala Port in Cameroun due to the long waiting periods and the desire for quick turnaround time for vessels. Shippers and cargo owners are very conscious about ships’ turnaround time and will likely embrace opportunities for quicker discharge of cargoes.
“This diversion, in ANLCA’s opinion, will not only support government’s Ease of Doing Business objective but also reduce the number of trucks on some port access roads and allow speedy execution of the ongoing construction along the corridor.
“It will also help in averting avoidable congestion with its adverse effects in Lagos and Port Harcourt ports, slow down construction work and lead to massive job losses if not approved and implemented.”