Home » Delay by APMT raises port costs by 45%, importers, agents allege, want new CAC to intervene

Delay by APMT raises port costs by 45%, importers, agents allege, want new CAC to intervene

Importers and clearing agents have called on the new Customs Area Controller, Apapa Port, Babatunde Olomu to intervene in the delay caused by APM Terminals and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service at Nigeria's premiere port

by Samson Echenim

Delay at APM Terminals, Apapa Port has raised importation cost by a whopping 45%, importers and customs clearing agents have alleged.

The port users who spoke with The Nigerian Economy yesterday during an opinion survey on their expectations from the new Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Apapa Port Area Command, Babatunde Olomu, complained bitterly about current delay in placement of containers for examination at APM Terminals and urged the CAC to intervene immediately.

An importer of telephone accessories in Alaba International Market, Lagos, Gilbert Okorie told The Nigerian Economy that his containers took over 30 days to get cleared from Apapa Port, with his agents citing delay by APM Terminals in placing his consignments for examination.

“Importers are paying too much for demurrage at Apapa Port and this is unfortunate, especially because this is an additional cost that should not have been there. My containers come through APMT in Apapa Port and most times, my agents cite delay by the terminal and ask for more money to clear the demurrage costs ocassioned by this delay,” he said.

He noted that the greatest expectations of importers from the new controller is to ensure effective trade facilitation to reduce cost of doing business at the port.

An industry captain, Dr Kayode Farinto confirmed the delay at APMT. According to him, the delay at APM Terminals is deliberate allegedly to make money from importers through demurrage charges. He lamented that the outcome of the delay is increased cost of goods in Nigerian markets, as the delay is responsible for up to 45% of port cost for imported goods.

He said; “I expect him (the new Customs controller) to check delay of container release deliberately orchestrated by some Customs officers. Also, APMT is causing severe delay in Apapa Port just to accumulate demurrage to their company. They take up to seven days to place your container for examination and this delay is deliberate. We expect the new controller to stop this ‘madness’ by that terminal.


“Let me give one specific instance: Right now, there is repair on the road leading to APMT terminal. They will not let any truck to enter. They are supposed to make provision for container to access and exit the terminal because this is a business channel and containers need to be taken by the consignees.

“The delay APMT is causing importers is adding up to 45% to cost of doing business in Apapa Port. Unfortunately, this cost will eventually be pushed to the final consumers who are Nigerian citizens.”

He called on CAC Olomu to quickly check the delay caused by APMT and officers of the service in the port system.

“I know the new controller and he is a thorough-bred officer. I know him as someone who is more focused on trade facilitation. There’s no problem about him meeting his revenue target because when there is good and effective trade facilitation, there would be more business in the port. He should immediately arrest the ugly situation at APMT.”

Julius Agwu, a freight forwarder who also spoke with The Nigerian Economy on the situation in Apapa Port, said clearing agents were tired of the problem of delay in container release by APMT. He said the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) no longer appear to have control over the terminal operator anymore.

He said: “The Shippers Council is not doing anything about the delay at APMT right now. Customs agents are tired of talking, but we will keep crying out for the authorities to do something about it. So, I am hoping that the new CAC will do a general appraisal of all these issues and understand them and improve on the situation. Our hopes are high on him.”

Efforts by our correspondent to reach Bolaji Akinola, spokesman for APM Terminals proved abortive, as calls made to him did not go through. However, The Economy’s inquiry made to him by text message was delivered to his phone but he did not respond to it.

Comptroller Babatunde Olomu took over as the new CAC, Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service from Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba with a promise to effectively facilitate trade, fight smuggling and improve revenue generation at the premiere port.

He also promised to fully abide by provisions of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, the Common External Tarrif, import and export prohibition guidelines and other books of instructions as directed by NCS management.

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