Following continued build-up in the already massive congestion at the Lagos ports, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has declared an emergency and commenced diversion of vessels to alternative terminals within Lagos as well as Eastern Ports.
Disclosing this in Lagos on Thursday, Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, said that a directive for the diversions has been issued to the terminal operators as well as shipping firms early this week and implementation has started.
She explained that it was in the interest of everybody to divert the vessels to other ports instead of waiting endlessly, sometimes for three weeks, to berth and discharge cargoes while accumulating costs on elongated dwell time.
She stated: “We have noted the attendant congestion as it relates to berthing of vessels in the last one month and off-course, the issue of the closure of the land borders is clear reason why you have more vessels calling with higher volumes.
“One of the things we have done is that we have held discussions with the key terminal operators particularly A.P. Moller Terminals and we took a decision to have the vessels being diverted to the Eastern ports.
“We believed that any vessel that has stayed in anchorage over four days should go and berth elsewhere.
“We have given the shipping companies between now and Monday, and with effect from Monday, we are going to proceed with vessels being diverted to other terminals within Lagos and then to the Eastern ports.
“Our position is that it is in everybody’s best interest for us to have these cargoes being diverted to other locations.
“With congestion, the time frame of vessels waiting at the anchorage for days in Lagos cannot be justified.
“Beyond cargo diversion to the Eastern Ports, we also held discussion with other terminals. Vessels that have been stemmed to APMT can go and berth in other terminals that have capacity to receive them.
“We held a meeting with them yesterday (Wednesday) and with all the terminal operators in Lagos and we are going to move vessels to other terminals irrespective of whether a vessel was meant for a particular terminal.”