By Godfrey Bivbere
Nigeria’s maritime stakeholders have attributed the dumping of empty containers in the country to lack of supervision of container holding system.
According to them, the dumped containers are those that have reached the end of their life circle
Former National President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Eugene Nweke, told Vanguard Maritime Report, that the shipping companies are exploiting this gap to, not only ship in these expired containers but also milk the nation’s economy.
Nweke explained that it was because of this that the shipping companies collect container deposit fee from importers and their agents and never bordered whether they are returned or not.
He pointed out that the international best practice is for containers to be in use for five to six years and during which they will be refurbished once or twice before they reach the end of their life circle.
When they reach this point, according him, they are recycled.
Knowing that the rule does not apply in Nigeria, the companies find it easy and financially rewarding to ship the expired empty containers down to Nigeria.
He pointed out that on the long run these empty containers may have negative impact on the environment if not properly disposed off.
He, therefore, called on the federal government to come down hard on the shipping companies for sanity to return to the port environment.
Similarly, Chairman of Apapa Chapter of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ALNCA, Olumide Fakanlu, told Vanguard Maritime Report that these shipping companies and terminal operators are not concerned about the country but are only interested in milking the economy.
The directive by the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, does not border them and therefore are not willing to invest in holding bays, he observed.
Fakanlu stressed that the present situation favours them because they will collect charges, dues and fees from port users and pay nothing for abandoning their expired empty containers in the country.
He said unless government takes the bull by the horn and ensure strict application of rules, the situation in the port and its environment will get even worse.