“Besides GTbank, no other bank can do automatic payment of duties. So, after the banks close on Friday, people can’t make customs duty payments,” he explained.
“For us at PTML, we provide 24- hour service a day, but insecurity has discouraged other agencies involved in cargo clearance to work at night.
He however urged the government to address the insecurity and take action on the construction of the port access roads in order to have seamless port operations in the country.
“We are already working 24 -hour operations. We receive vessels all the time and are ready to deliver cargo even during the night but the challenge is insecurity.
“The same thing goes for Customs officers and we cannot blame them because the area we operate can be volatile and no one will want to stay out late at night because when they leave, they may be attacked by armed robbers or any other threat which may arise.
“We also have challenges with the banks about paying duties online. Another challenge we are having in our terminal at Mile 2 is the congestion on the road.
Russo said while the terminal and its parent company, Grimaldi Nigeria have adopted the use of technology to enhance its operation, some government agencies involved in cargo clearance are yet to key into full digitisation of their operations thus maintaining human contact at the port.
“From the arrival of the vessel to the delivery of the cargo basically our clients can do everything online. They don’t even need to come to the port. My dream is that one day, I will come to the office and I will not see all this crowd around the port.
“The reason why PTML has never experienced congestion is that we have the real solution, otherwise with the number of vehicles coming into this port terminal, there will be crazy congestion but because we have invested in digitisation and still investing there, we don’t have any congestion.”
Russo said the company has adopted the use of barges to receive export cargoes and move empty containers.
“Because of this off-dock terminal, we have been moving cargo in and out with our barges. We have been overwhelmed by requests from customers to work with us because they know that with our solution, the export cargo can access the terminal without any delay. This is why last year; we were the first carrier of export containers.”
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