The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has begun the evacuation of overtime cargoes to help decongest the port.
Ms Moltok said the decongestion of the ports to pave the way for efficient operations received a boost on June 23 when the permanent secretary of the transport ministry, Magdalene Ajani, led an inter-agency team on an assessment tour.
“The team comprising the NPA, the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council made an assessment tour of overtime cargoes littering the ports. The Lagos and Tincan Island Port complexes and the terminals therein, including Ikorodu Lighter Terminal, have over the years been occupied with 3,200 units of overtime cars and about 3,295 units of overtime containers, respectively,” Ms Moltok said.
She added that the eastern ports had a combined total of 956 overtime containers.
“This awkward situation, apart from constraining terminal spaces required for seamless cargo handling operations in the ports, has contributed to the deterioration of port infrastructure,” she said.
She added that the port infrastructure was designed as transit locations instead of holding dead weight tonnes for years, which the overtime cargoes constitute.
“Following the inspection tour, which held on June 23 and June 24, respectively, an all-stakeholder sensitisation involving shipping lines and the association of freight forwarders and clearing agents was convened on June 26,” stated the transport ministry head.
“It was unanimously agreed that all cargoes and containers that have overstayed their required time at the ports should be auctioned in situ (in their current locations) and removed immediately from the ports.”
Ms Moltok said that to ensure transparency and inclusiveness, the modalities to govern the auction process would be finalised by all stakeholders.
She said this would be after a similar sensitisation meeting with stakeholders in the eastern ports of Warri, Rivers, Onne and Calabar.
NPA managing director Mohammed Bello-Koko had, at several fora, sought the cooperation of the NCS to ensure speedy removal of overtime cargo from the ports and terminal yards.
This is to free up space and preserve the durability of the capital-intensive port infrastructure.