Stakeholders operating at the nation’s maritime domain on Wednesday protested at the Apapa office of the AP Muller Terminal over what they described as a delibrate abandonment of work by staff of the terminal in order to raise demurrage.
The aggrieved stakeholders, which included truckers and freight forwarders, accused APMT staff of deliberately slowing down the jobs, refusing to attend to the clearing process, as well as creating man-made bottlenecks, in the procedure for taking back their empty containers.
Demurrage is the fine or levy shippers pay for their failure or inability to clear their goods on time from either a terminal or shipping controlled area.
The President of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Remi Ogungbemi, told Financial Street in Apapa that the cost of haulage at the APMT terminals often attracted higher rates because it was hard to access the terminal to pick up containers, and harder to return empty containers than other terminals.
“Cost depends on terminals. Cost also depends on the containers, because cost varies, APMT however comes with a difference,” the AMARTO president said.
Corroborating what Ogungbemi said, a freight forwarder, Wasiu Olomoda, lamented the current extortion on the route for haulage operators, either at the TinCan Island Port, or that of Apapa.
“The call-up system has failed, the original call-up system is not working. So, most people are patronising the fake one. It is costlier; but it is also very effective.
“If you go for the original, on your way into the port, you may run into one Oga, who will take a look at your paper, confirm it is the original and then force you to cough out N150,000,” he explained.
Adding that Apapa to Ijora ordinarily should not take more than 40 minutes, Olomoda noted, “But, it could take you one month, if you refuse to co-operate with them.”
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