THE Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) announced has announced that importers had been abandoning their cargoes at Nigerian ports, due to high costs of clearing such cargoes.
The President of the association, Mr Jonathan Nicol, made the announcement in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
He said the cost of cargo clearance had become “uncontrollable,’’ suggesting that the way out was for government to review the nation’s import policy.
The shipper said the sliding naira exchange rate had also slowed down business at the ports.
He explained that clearing a 20 feet container was costing as much as N840, 000 while to clear a 40 feet container now cost N1.2 million.
Nicol said that customs, shipping and terminal charges as well as local transportation charges had not changed, in spite of the port reforms announced by the Federal Government.
“Our tariff management has not changed. Rather it is getting more complicated with incessant queries on goods.
“Yes, we must comply with international best practices but importers do not have so much money to pay for un-receipted items,’’ he stated.
According to him, diversion of cargo to other African ports has become the option for many importers.
“The purpose of doing business is to make some profit. The outlets of official and unofficial payments are unbearable.
“Very soon, car terminals will be empty,’’ he stated.
Nicol, however, called for restructuring in organisations handling maritime matters.