By Chiazo Ogbolu
An excess of 40 vessels are kept at anchorage due to bad port access road, Mr John Jenkins, Group Managing Director, Ports and Cargo Container Terminal, disclosed on Tuesday .
Jenkins made the disclosure to Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary and CEO, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), when he made a working visit to the terminal in Lagos State.
The visit was to access the performance of the terminal and address complaints of customers.
According to Jenkins, vessels are kept at anchorage to reduce the amount of containers at the terminal and this is due to bad port access road.
He noted that presently, there were no vessels for the terminal but that however, there was an excess of 40 vessels at the anchorage waiting to go to other terminals.
“For ports and cargo we have six or seven vessels we just brought right now due to the fact that we do not have space.
“Last month, we kept one of the MSC vessels there for four days because we could not discharge and the previous month, it was like two days. So, we are all trying our best.
“The whole problem of the congestion is the road. Before , we never had missing or blocked containers because the cargo used to go smoothly.
“If the road issue is solved, the situation will improve and we will not be having containers kept everywhere,” he said.
He said there was need to form a palliative solution for the roads to take of pressure.
The port and cargo boss refuted allegations of complaints that movement of containers by barge was slow, adding that they move 8,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) a month and this was almost 100,000 TEU a year by barges.
Jenkins said that to improve on performance, the terminal invested in new equipment like cranes for barges but to bring them in was a problem.
“If we create the space, our performance will increase and we can compete with any terminal; for overtime containers, we have moved out 300 remaining 700.
“The issue of introducing a call-up system is good but only if they road issue is tackled and congestion removed,” he said.
On the issue of automation, he said they would be their best to ensure 100 per cent compliance.
Earlier, Bello had admonished terminal operators, saying that performance rated at 25 per cent on automation was not good enough.
According to Bello, mitigating the situation as regards the efficiency of terminal operators will have an effect in what they do and in the economy.
“This is a terminal of our pride. We have seen the improvement in terms of equipment and we want to see more in terms of automation.
“You have the outlet, the barges, offdock to deploy these containers so that things will move up your operations efficiently and honestly so do utilise them,” he said.
The shippers council boss also urged terminal operators not to flout trade guidelines as it would not be condoned by the council.
On the roads, Bello assured that things would normalise soon as the issue had been channeled to the appropriate quarters , assuring that by first quarter of 2021, things would be good.