According to NPA spokesperson Josephine Moltok in Lagos, the decongestion process gained momentum on June 23, when the Ministry of Transportation’s permanent secretary, Magdalene Ajani, led an inter-agency team on an evaluation tour.
Moltok explained that the team, consisting of representatives from NPA, the Nigerian Customs Service, and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, assessed the accumulation of overdue cargoes at the Lagos and Tincan Island Port complexes, including the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal. The team discovered approximately 3,200 units of due vehicles and about 3,295 units of overdue containers at these locations. Additionally, the eastern ports held a total of 956 unsettled containers.
This undesirable situation hampers efficient cargo operations and contributes to the deterioration of port infrastructure, which was initially intended for transit purposes rather than long-term storage.
“After the inspection tour conducted on June 23 and June 24, an awareness session involving shipping lines, freight forwarders, and clearing agents was held on June 26,” stated the head of the Ministry of Transportation. “It was unanimously agreed that all cargoes and containers exceeding their allotted time at the ports should be auctioned in situ (at their current locations) and promptly removed from the ports.”
Moltok emphasized that the auction process would be governed by transparent and inclusive modalities to be finalized in consultation with all stakeholders. The eastern ports of Warri, Rivers, Onne, and Calabar will also hold similar awareness meetings to engage stakeholders.
NPA’s managing director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, has consistently appealed for the cooperation of the Nigerian Customs Service in expediting the removal of overdue cargo from port premises and terminal yards. This collaborative effort aims to create additional space and preserve the durability of the capital-intensive port infrastructure.