—-as PTML counts losses
The ongoing strike action by the agitating Customs brokers at the Lagos ports to protest the implementation of the controversial Vehicles identification Number (VIN) valuation policy of the Customs have started to have a heavy toll on the operations of the Roll-on -Roll-Off facilities at the ports.
The Port and Terminals Multiservices Limited (PTML), operators of the biggest RORO facilities at the Lagos ports, have incurred heavy financial losses to the strike.
Mr. Tunde Keshinro, the General Manager of the PTML, lamented that the terminal has so far lost charges accruals from over 6,000 vehicles which the terminal could have handled since the strike started but were prevented from coming to the facility for lack of space to discharge their cargo.
Speaking on Tuesday at the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Nigeria Customs Service to resolve the VIN controversy, Keshinro revealed that RORO vessels destined for the terminal now divert and anchor at Cotonou Port, the Republic of Benin due to lack of space to discharge their cargo at the PTML terminals.
“The strike has created a disruption in our services.
“We handle a minimum of 800 vehicles per day at the terminal.
“But since the strike started, we have lost over 6, 000 units of vehicles which we could have handled but because of lack of space to discharge more units, the vessels destined for the terminal now anchor at Cotonou Port” the PTML manager lamented.
He appealed for quick resolution of the crisis between the Customs and their agents.
Keshinro further admonished the Customs authority to be more transparent in the implementation of the controversial valuation policy by making public the database used for generating the values on vehicles.
“There is no transparency in the implementation of the new valuation policy. Perhaps, that is the area of concern of the protesting agents.
” The Customs authority should make public the database used to arrive at the values on vehicles under the new system.” he declared.
The PTML manager asked the Customs authority to factor in the economic situation in the country and the effects of COVID-19 on businesses worldwide before they arrive at the values on goods.
He wondered why such pains should be visited on the agents in the maritime sector while other sectors of the economy such as aviation got a financial reprieve from the government.
“Even, governments of the advanced countries gave financial incentives to their citizens to reflate the economy” he noted.
Keshinro further stated that his terminal felt the impact of the strike because the valuation policy affects mostly used vehicles which form 85 percent of the category of vehicles the terminal handles with fewer new vehicles.
It could be recalled that since the strike commenced on 17th, February 2022, the protesting agents have refused to take delivery of vehicles at the RORO terminals, thus causing a glut of cargo which makes the terminal operators express concern over possible congestion and lack of space to accommodate additional cargo.
Though the agents have agreed to resume the clearing process for general goods after the intervention of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, but have shunned taking delivery of vehicles until the whole controversy surrounding the VIN implementations is resolved.