‘IDPs won’t work without carrying STOAN along’ – Shittu
Erudite customs broker and immediate past National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shitu has identified non involvement of seaport terminal operators as the major challenge militating against the successful takeoff of Inland Dry Ports, established to decentralize shipping operations and raise seaport capacity efficiencies.
Shittu assured that if the relevant maritime regulatory agencies are able to bring terminal operators into the picture, all the barriers real and imagined will disappear, producing a rainbow of synergy with unbelievable win-win situation.
The front line maritime personality who was speaking on the teething problems confronting the implementation of the trucks Electronic Call Up System, ETO, said ETO should have been conceived as part of the port concession programme in 2006; and as an integral part of the transportation connectivity.
He argued that the collapse of earlier initiative known as Inland Depot Port, IDP, later subsumed as IDP if properly integrated with other centrifugal forces in the port operations network, will release a new operational vista and eliminate what all hitherto systemic creepers militating against the success of IDP.
He identified two factors, economics and manmade, which he said is responsible for holding down the IDPs from functioning according to plans. According to him, if port operations move away from the seaports to IDPs, under an acceptable service charge template, including collection of demurrages at the IDPs by terminal operators, the issue of clogging will disappear, noting that the present challenge is due to deliberate refusal to feed the IDPs with containers.
He said, “ETO should have been an integral part of the transportation connectivity. The system can load cargo on train and be taking them to designated Inland Container Depot (ICD, there is one at Ibadan and one in Kaduna. Let the port operations move from the transit areas to the ICDs.
“Government should provide incentives to encourage seaport terminal operators, get them involved in the ICD so that they will be willing to feed the ICDs, so that they can still continue to collect their demurrage in case owners of cargo or their agents don’t come on time; rather than tell them to remove overtime cargo to customs government ware houses which is nonexistent.
“If all the imports are taking to ICDs, what will be coming back to the port will be loaded empty containers. Imports will no longer be stacked in the terminals; you will still pay your handling charges but not demurrage.
“But if you don’t involve the seaport terminal operators, they won’t cooperate to allow cargo move out of the port, so that they can go on collecting demurrage. All those hindrances are factors of how much money can I get?”