By Innocent OROK
Shipping Companies have been blame for the recent containers logjam in Lagos roads.
Aside from the bad roads, Mr Ene Usanga hinted our Correspondent that since the shipping lines have refused to carry empty containers after discharging incoming ones, empty containers will continue to litter Lagos roads.
In a chat with Chief Enebong Usanga a frontline Clearing Agent, he said the secret of the many empty containers on our roads is that unlike before were every incoming ship after offloading its contents will carry empty containers back, but now the shipping companies refuse loading empty containers on outgoing ships in order for it to accrue demurrage for them .
He said for now empty containers deposits ranges from N400,000 to N600,000 depending on the destination.
He lamented that as soon as importers or their Agents paid this money to shipping companies as empty containers deposits, the shipping companies refuses to pick back the empties so as to forfeit the entre money as demurrage and that this is the real issue why the shipping companies don’t want to have empty containers loading bay.
Mr Enebong Usanga said “When we started this job over thirty years ago, if a ship comes in with 2000 units of containers, after offloading the containers, it’s also loads 2000 empties when going back, then there was no empty containers loitering the roads. But now because the shipping companies collects as much as N600,000 as empty container deposits, when a ship birth and offloads, they don’t carry empty containers again, either they go empty or move to neighboring countries to carry empty containers back, leaving the ones in Nigeria so they can accrue demurrage or to forfeit your deposits as demurrage. This is the reap off, the shipping companies have been enjoying and this is the real reason they don’t want to have empty containers loading bay” Usanga said
He called on the Federal Government to intervene or else things will get out of hands in the maritime industry.
In the past four days over 14,000 containers have jampacked in Lagos roads blocking major roads leading to the ports in Lagos.
Just last week the truck owners and drivers went on strike and protested massive extortions from security agencies.
Today , the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo visited the Apapa area of Lagos state where the trucks are parked , but it was not clear on what the Federal Government will do to arrest the situation.