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Business

Haulage cost increases by more than 50% in a week as Apapa gridlock bites harder

Gridlock in Nigerian Port continues to bite harder as haulage cost increases by more than 50% in a week

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FG records N6 trillion loss across sectors due to Lagos gridlock

The haulage cost of moving containers from the Tin Can Island Port has increased from N1.2 million to N1.8 million in a week.

This is according to a report by ThisDay. The investigation, however, builds on the report issued by the Media Company last week, that the cost of shipping containers had risen by more than 1,000 per cent from about N100,000 to about N1.2 million.

READ: It costs more to ship through Apapa port than Ghana’s Tema port, others –SBM

The prevalent issue of congestion at the ports has negatively impacted on the shipping cost in the port, as cost of moving a container from the Tin Can Island Port increased sporadically by more than 50% in a week.

The fact behind the figures

In line with preliminary understanding of the situation, and on-premise investigation carried out at the port, it is plausible that both regulatory and infrastructural breakdowns play key roles in the gridlock and the sporadic increase in haulage costs at the port.

READ: Dala Inland Dry Port set to take off after N2.3 billion investment – Kano Govt.

The Infrastructural breakdown in the country continues to pile up the misery in the economy and also at the ports, as transfer of containers by road remains a tough tussle, as existing road infrastructure continue to dilapidate.

The Managing Director of Port & Cargo Handling Services, Mr. John Jenkins, expressed frustration over the poor port access road – Mile 2/Tin Can Island, which has led to the near-collapse of cargo delivery. He said:

  • Transfer of containers by road is almost not in existence because the road is blocked and you can’t get containers out. The problem is the road. If the problem of the road is solved, the problem inside the port will be solved as well.”

READ: Nigerian Ports Authority moves to recover ₦40 billion debt

On the regulatory breakdown, investigation at the port by ThisDay revealed that truck operators attributed the sporadic increase in the cost of haulage services at the Tin Can Port to extortion by security operators, including Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) security officials, police and the Presidential task team on Apapa gridlock, as the operators pay more than N250,000 per truck to gain access to the port.

To emphasize on this issue, The Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, described the situation at the ports as confusing and dispiriting. He disclosed that business is still ongoing, but the Presidential task team at the port has refused to leave because they are benefiting from the chaos.

READ: Lekki Deep Sea Port must be operational by 2022 – Amaechi

He disclosed that the Presidential task team had formed a cartel with the police and NPA officials to set up shops to collect bribes and determine who enters.

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Mr. Ojo Akintoye, a Clearing Agent operating at the Tin Can Island Port, disclosed there are more than four roadblocks between Tin Can Island Port First and Second Gates set up by the Presidential task team, the police and NPA officials, where each truck is expected to bribe officials before being allowed passage into the port. He said:

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  • “The extortion by NPA (security officials) and other security agencies who claim to be controlling traffic on the road is the cause of the impediment we are experiencing daily along the port access road.”

READ: FG approves $2 billion for first phase of $4.6 billion Ibom Deep Seaport

Also commenting on the issue of extortion by the Presidential Task Team and other security operatives is Prince Kayode Farinto, the National Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), who called the team a money-making machine and supported its disbandment.

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He disclosed that clearing agents lose an average of N300 million weekly to illegal collection by NPA security officials, the police and members of the Presidential Task Team, adding that to enter the port, truckers pay as high as N280,000 to security operatives on the road.

READ: Senate to probe NPA, FCC over alleged Job scam

In the same manner, the House of Representatives asked the federal government to disband the Presidential Task Team, stressing that it has outlived its usefulness and is allegedly participating in extortion and contributing to the congestion of the Lagos ports.

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The lawmakers had also urged government and other security agencies to immediately end extortion of truck drivers. Stating that the police and the Presidential Task Force remain the major cause of unending gridlock along the port access roads, with stakeholders such as importers, clearing agents and truck owners alleging that they are forced to pay as much as N250,000 to N280,000 per truck for entries and exits to the ports.

READ: Terminal closure: BUA clears air on NPA’s claims 

The reaction of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, at the budget defence session before the Senate Committee on Marine Transport yesterday, disclosed that the agency, based on the ongoing arrangement with the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA), was evolving a permanent solution to the gridlock on roads leading to the ports in Lagos.

She disclosed that Trucks Park had been established in Orile, Lagos, and the park will serve as call up centre for any truck waiting to evacuate goods at the ports and also facilitate the implementation of the electronic call-up system which had been put in place for the evacuation of goods by the Port Authority for trucks accessing the ports.

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READ: Atiku: Here is my Intels Story

What you should know

  • According to report, no fewer than 40 ships calling at the Tin Can Island Port are stranded at anchorage due to lack of space to discharge new cargoes at terminals in the port, as shipments from the port have been constrained by multiple toll points mounted by security operatives including men of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) security department, the Nigeria police, Nigerian Army and officials of the Presidential Task Team.
  • This situation continues to pile up the gridlock at the port, and thus affecting the port operation as cargo delivery continues to slow down, leading to astronomical rise in haulage and shipping cost, thereby increasing inflationary pressures in the country.
  • However, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has directed all its members in Eastern ports to commence an indefinite strike, in protest over the retrenchment of 500 workers by the Management of Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) Nigeria Limited and the Associated Maritime Services (AMS) Limited.
  • The Union reiterated that the strike would last until the management of INTELS and AMS withdraw the sack letters issued to their members and resume negotiations with the unions.
  • It also stated that the strike would not be called off until there is a guarantee from the management of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) that security operatives will no longer be used to deal with or settle industrial relations issues in the sector.
  • In a statement signed by the Secretary-General of MWUN, Mr. Felix Akingboye, the union urged the federal government to investigate the deployment of armed security operatives to disrupt a peaceful gathering of workers. It called for sanctions against those who brought the security operatives that brutalised, intimidated and harassed its members.

READ: NPA expects 23 ships with petrol, food items, other commodities at Lagos Ports Complex

Omokolade Ajayi is a graduate of Economics, and a certificate holder of the CFA Institute’s Investment Foundation Program. He is a business analyst, and equity market researcher, with wealth of experience as a retail investor. He is a business owner and a stern advocate of Financial literacy, who believes in the huge economic prospect of the Nigerian Payment channels and Fintech space.

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Business

Lagos, Chinese firm to rollout 1,000 SUVs as taxis, to complete auto assembly plant in 12 months

Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm to roll-out 1,000 SUVs as taxis for Lagos residents.

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Lagos dismisses levy on audio and visual contents, suspends LSFVCB boss, Lagos SEC meeting goes virtual as full lockdown commences, Partial lockdown guidelines for businesses from May 4, Nigeria @ 60: Lagos State Government opts for a low-key celebration of the Independence Day

Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, Choice International Group (CIG) Motors Co. Ltd. on Thursday for the roll-out of 1,000 Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) as taxis for Lagos residents.

The signing and flag-off ceremony which was held at the Lagos House, Marina also included the signing of an agreement for the establishment of a Motor Assembly Plant in Lagos State, with the Governor saying that the roll-out of vehicles from the plant is expected within the next 12 to 18 months.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that the Lagos State Taxi Scheme was another innovative policy of his administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility and creating a seamless multi-modal transport system.

Sanwo-Olu said that the scheme would create jobs, accelerate socio-economic growth, and further put the state on the global map as the centre of excellence and a modern megacity committed to sustainable development.

What Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is saying

Sanwo-Olu pointed out that the task of bequeathing a safe, efficient, quick, and modern public transport system is a key thrust of the administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.

He said, ”We are guided by the need for an equitable transport system with mobility choices for our people. The Taxi Scheme, to be known as ”Lagos Ride”, which is being inaugurated today is in fulfilment of our desire to give Lagosians transport choices.

”It is one of the Lagos State Government’s socio-economic intervention programmes- a modern ride-hailing service that will be professionally managed in line with global best practices. Under the Lagos State Taxi Service, drivers/operators will be given the cars for a period of four years during which they pay a monthly instalment and they will have the opportunity of owning the cars after they have fully paid the hire amount.

”The Lagos State Taxi Service is structured along a profitability model, it is self-sustaining and able to expand and regenerate itself,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant was expected to revive industrialisation, increase citizens’ employment and wealth creation, boost tourism, and encourage technology sharing, adaptation, and advancement.

He said, ”As we inaugurate the taxis and sign the Joint Venture Agreement for the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant, Lagosians should expect a roll-out of vehicles from this plant within the next 12 to 18 months.

”I urge the beneficiaries of the Lagos State Taxi Service to collaborate with us to sustain the scheme.We have the political and administrative will to ensure the Taxi Scheme survives.

”I am hopeful that the operators will cooperate with the Lagos State Government to render excellent service to the people,” he said.

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The Group Chairman, CIG Motors, Diana Chen, said that they hope to celebrate this exciting moment again when 1,000 units of branded SUVs with high-tech technology arrive and run across Lagos streets and roads, with 1,000 well-trained drivers carrying happy customers that live and work in Lagos.

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What this means

  • This collaboration by the Lagos State Government with the Chinese auto firm is one of the ways of the government to get private sector participation in a modern transport system within the metropolis’
  • The establishment of the Assembly Plant and the Lagos Taxi Scheme were among the benefits of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s official trip to China.
  • This is a welcome development as it will help to change the face of public transportation in the state.

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Business

FG announces extension of work-from-home directive for GL 12 officers, below

FG has extended the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.

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Nigeria gradually moves to total lockdown as FG asks public servants to work from home

The Federal Government has announced the extension of the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.

This is seen as part of the measure by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which had surged earlier this year, due to the second wave of the outbreak across the country and the discovery of a new variant of the disease.

This announcement was made in a statement by the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, and signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations, the office of HOSF, Mr Abdulganiyu Aminu, on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Abuja.

READ: FG sets committee to support tech start-ups with affordable internet access amid lockdown

The statement partly reads, “All public servants on GL12 and below have been directed to continue working from home till the end of March 2021.

Yemi-Esan said the latest directive was in adherence to the advice of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19.

The Head of Service of the Federation harped on the need to maintain the downward trend of the Covid-19 infection in the country and as such the reason for the extension of work from home directive.

While also emphasising the need for all public servants to continue to ensure strict compliance with the existing guidelines on the prevention and spread of the pandemic, she enjoined all Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive officers to bring the content of the circular to all concerned and ensure strict compliance.

READ: Landlords offer incentives to counter “work from home” induced vacancy rates

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Federal Government in January 2021, announced the extension of work from home directive for civil servants on Grade Level 12 and below until February 28, 2021.
  • The directive was as a result of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which had seen a spike in infection rates across the country.

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