Worried by the growing number of empty containers at the nation’s ports, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman has ordered terminal operators at the Lagos ports to declare the number of empty containers there.
Over 40 per cent of the space at the ports is believed to be occupied by empty containers.
The NPA, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Nigeria Customs Service, it was alleged, do not have a record of the number of empty containers in most of the terminals across the country.
Towards this, the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi and the NPA, an official said, must direct the operators to publish weekly the number of cargo, laden and empty containers at the ports.
Most of the operators, an official alleged, are conniving with some unscrupulous NPA officials and shipping companies to keep the containers at their terminals to create the impression that the ports are busy.
It was also gathered that the poor condition of the NPA roads was hindering efficient ports’ operations at Apapa, especially leading to loss of man-hours and revenues.
Over the years, Apapa ports, Nigeria’s gateway to the world, have been badly affected by poor road networks, most times leading to heavy gridlocks, and providing opportunities for street urchins and armed bandits to rob innocent people of their properties and money.