Terminals: NAGAFF President Decries Challenges Faced By Truck Drivers

By: Joy Enamuna

The National President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, (NAGAFF) Chief Tochukwu Ezisi, has expressed sadness over the enormous challenges faced by Truck Drivers in accessing Terminals to load containers as well as in returning empty boxes to the ports.

Chief Ezisi while speaking on the challenges pointed out that unnecessary delay of trucks by terminal gate keepers before accessing the terminals and failure of Terminal operators (TOs) to load the trucks in real time due to inadequate equipment or deliberate ploy to make extra money is becoming unbearable, demanding that the validity of Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) should be extended from the current 12hours to 3 days.

According to Ezisi, “It was unanimously agreed that all freights arising from undue increment of terminal storage charges by TOs was particularly on points 2 and 3 where TOs adjudged cargos which arrived before October 25th are enjoying the old rate because NSC had ordered them not to issue blanket charges.”

Apparently, importers and agents are being accused of being reluctant to evacuate their cargoes because they are enjoying the old rate .

Speaking at the meeting to address issues arising from the October 25th resolution
which was organised by NSC, the National Deputy President of NAGAFF, Fwdr. Simeon Nwonu who represented the National President of NAGAFF said, “NSC should conduct a study at the port that will critically examine operational procedures of the TOs, Customs and other government agencies with the view of identifying and eliminating bottleneck processes by setting Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) at the ports”.

He also urged the federal government through Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to give Terminal operators (TOs) annual throughput target which they must meet 98%
as well as processing and releasing consignments routed to their
respective terminals within a stipulated time.

Still at the meeting which was well attended by representatives from sister Associations, it was agreed that
Terminal Operators (TOs) should reduce their proposed 600% increment on storage
charges to 400%. The 400% new rate will only take effect and apply only to cargo that arrived from 26th October, 2023 onwards. That containers that arrived any terminal before or on Wednesday 25th October 2023
would be charged based on the old storage rate”, he said.

The new rate of 400% storage charges, 12 hours validity of TDO is no longer viable because the delays are often caused by TOs. For example, when a truck driver finally gains entry to the terminal and TO fails to load the truck, they often order the truck to go out of the terminal and queue up again and it could take up to 3 days before the truck will finally re-enter for loading, meanwhile the TDO had already expired while on the queue, the agent is made to start going through stress all over again .

“That the number of free storage period at the terminal has been increased from 3 to 5
days in all the terminals. That NSC should establish a dedicated complaint desk at the port stations that will ensure that issues raised by port users are resolved promptly and efficiently.

” After booking for examination, TOs give up to 5 days before they can drop the container(s) for examination. During the 5 days, demurrage accumulate from both TO and Shipping Line and the freight forwarder are usually forced to pay”.

Chief Ezisi vehemently condemned the
dubious act by the Terminal Operators and proposed that NSC should as a matter of urgency, enforce it on TOs to bear the cost incurred on demurrage due to their operational inadequacies and stop passing the financial burden to Frieght Forwarders and importers.

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