FREIGHT FOR SHIPMENTS HITS ALL TIME HIGH DUE TO SHORTAGE OF BOXES
BY Mcanthony ONUOHA
Very recently, the cost of freight shipments from Europe and Asia into Lagos has skyrocketed from $3,000 for a 40ft container to up to $13,000.
Information from the diaspora disclosed that shipping companies are facing challenge of acute shortage of containers to carry out shipments .
Companies in Europe and Asia, as a result of the challenge, have increased cost of freight for shipments, which will not only affect cargo throughputs, but will also deal a terrible blow on end users in the open market.
Shipping companies are saying that there are no available empty boxes to ship goods not only to Lagos but also to other African countries.
Shipping Companies in Antwerp , Istanbul, Guangzhou and Beijing, say they have no containers left in their countries to ship goods to Apapa and TinCan because containers sent in the last ten years are not returned.
However, it is said that this was informed by the fact that the shipping companies find it less stressful and expensive to abandon their containers in Lagos rather than wait for the containers to be returned to them empty as Nigeria is not an exporting nation .
Those in shipping business say that it is cheaper for Shipping Companies to abandon containers in Lagos than to wait for one month for container to journey from Apapa Port to Oshodi and back.
Pundits have pointed out that the double edged sword works against the country is in two ways: Lagos Ports and all the nook and cranny of Lagos are littered with empty containers and more terribly, imported goods and imports for production of any kind are going up in astronomical proportions.
During an interface with the MD/CEO, Real Passion Nigeria Limited, and Vice Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), TinCan Chapter, Mr.Sonniel Onochie, on the abandonment of empty boxes in Lagos and other states by Shipping Companies, he blamed Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and Nigeria Ports Authority ( NPA),for failing in their duties.
MR.SONNIEL ONOCHIE, VICE CHAIRMAN, ANLCA, TINCAN CHAPTER
Mr. Onochie said that NSC and NPA can work hand in hand with Nigeria Customs Service to compel Shipping Companies to evacuate the abandoned empty containers from the country, by giving them seven days ultimatum or face the consequences.
The Vice Chairman, TinCan Chapter of ANLCA, said that Nigeria Customs as port owners, and NPA as Landlord, and Shippers Council as regulator should map out workable strategy to rid the country of empty boxes that are littered all over.
In his words,” The NSC and NCS should begin the process by gazetting abandoned empty containers, their Numbers and owners and order their evacuation within seven days, after which a Demand Notice (DN), of at least N5,000- N7,000 would be slammed on each container, to be paid by the owner starting on the expiration of the seven days window, this will get Shipping Companies running Helter Skelter to evacuate the abandoned boxes regardless of location. If such strict measure is not enforced, the country will continue to serve as a dumping ground for empties.”
Speaking further, Mr.Onochie blamed the perennial traffic gridlock on ports corridors on the abandonment of empty boxes by Shipping Companies, saying that the ports are littered with empty boxes yet to be evacuated, of which some of them have been in the port for over 6-7 years, thereby causing shortage of space to receive empties from truckers. He urged Authorities to take stringent measures towards sanitizing the system.