NPA slams 10-day suspension on Maerskline, three others for failing to use holding bays

The Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) has announced a 10-day suspension of the services of Maerskline, Cosco Shipping, APS, and Lansal for their failure to comply with the Authority’s directives on the use of holding bays.

It is on record that the NPA had threatened sanctions against shipping lines and terminal operators who fail to comply with its directive to provide and use holding bays for their containers.

The NPA said the decision was  part of efforts to resolve the protest by truck drivers at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP) Lagos.

In a statement on Friday in Lagos, the NPA said that the sanction on the affected Shipping Companies; Maerskline, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal takes effect from Saturday, July 14th, 2018.

The NPA said that at the expiration of this suspension it would review the level of the companies’ compliance to its directives.

It would be recalled that in November, 2017, an agreement was reached between the NPA, Shipping Companies and Terminal Operators on the provision of holding bays for their containers through the newly adopted Call-Up system for trucks.

The NPA explained that the suspension of the four Shipping Companies, follows the Authority’s checks, which revealed that they had failed to comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays as they have either failed to utilize their holding bays at all or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with.

It said that some of those companies had also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.

According to the NPA,  the conducts contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis where truck drivers with no immediate business at the ports now park their trucks on the express roads.

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

In a related vain, the NPA Management reiterated 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.

Meanwhile, the NPA Management had said that henceforth, it would be embarking on regular compliance checks of the operations of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators and stressed that defaulters would be sanctioned.

The Management expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their cooperation and understanding over the perennial traffic congestion along the Apapa and Tin Can Island axis and efforts to find a lasting solution to the problem.