The perennial congestion within the Lagos Ports and access roads has compounded the port closure which came as a fall out of the #EndSARS protests that rocked the nation two weeks ago and this may force terminal operators to start rejecting export containers in favour of a clear-out of import units of containers in-order to create more space at the ports.
A port worker who spoke on the condition of anonymity explained that emphasis is currently on clearing out the backlog of import unit of containers inside the port terminals due to their already congested state.
“You know the ports had been congested for most part of the year due to so many reasons which included diversion of more cargoes to the ports because of Nigeria’s border closure policy. With the EndSars protest, the ports were not opened for more than four days, meaning more congestion problem for our port terminals.
Now that the ports have been re-opened since on Monday, the terminal operators are already taking stock of the situation inside their various terminals. For now, the general notion is directed at clearing the backlog of import containers inside the ports.
Some terminals are even set to start rejecting export containers until they can evacuate a sizeable number of import containers in their terminals.
Even the shipping companies are currently taking stock of the effect of the port closure on their businesses. Many ships were stranded on our waters during the more than four days port closure because all the officials that would have attended to them did not come to work or were unable to carry out their responsibilities.
So the emphasis among the operators right now is on how to decongest the terminals of import units of containers. There is very high yard density at the ports and this is not good for port business.”
Another operator, however, thinks that perishable cargo would be given some level of priority so as to prevent them getting spoilt.
“They will be considered after a sizeable amount of import unit are cleared. For now, the focus is on decongesting Apapa and Tin-Can ports of import containers. However, perishable export cargoes might be considered during this time. Others might have to wait until there is considerable space in the ports.”