FG moves against empty containers, abandoned cargo at ports

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has called for stiff penalties for shippers who abandon their cargo at the ports calling for those cargo to be auctioned. The Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello made the call when he paid a courtesy call on the Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service in Abuja.

He said the extreme measure has become imperative in the face of sustained ports congestion and lack of government warehouses where those cargo are to be kept before the owners come for them.

"Overtime cargo is still a problem. This goes to the shippers too. They are using the ports as storage rather than a pass-through facility.

We have to abolish abandonment of cargo. If cargo are abandoned, it should be auctioned so space can be created for incoming cargo" he said. According to him, sometimes the abandoned cargo takes up to 35 percent space out of the cargo's occupancy level at the terminals, a situation he described as unacceptable.

The ES also raised the issue of empty containers littering the ports and constituting nuisance at the ports and called on Customs to do something about it. "There is this issue of empty containers. We need to come together and make rules and sanctions against empty containers at the ports.

Every ship that come should have corresponding sweepers to come take away the empty containers" he said. According to him, the empty containers are dangerous to our economy. He said the empty container deposits are collected by shipping companies adding that we shouldn't have empty containers in our ports.

Commenting, the CG Customs, Mr. Hamid Ali said all of the concerns are noted and action will be taken. He also indicated that the Nigerian customs will soon install scanners at every point of entry in Nigeria to check smuggling and those who under declare duties.

He said the Nigerian Customs will soon be fully automated in its drive to have an e-Customs regime.

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