Stakeholders seek end to heightened insecurity, delays at terminals

Importers and clearing agents have voiced serious concerns over ongoing security issues and operational inefficiencies at some terminals at Tin Can Port. Industry insiders report frequent incidents of vandalism and theft, with vehicle components being stolen, leading to substantial financial losses and a breakdown in trust.

Reports indicate that vital parts such as keys, side mirrors, batteries, and tyres and other accessories in vehicles are often missing from vehicles when they arrive at the terminal, forcing importers to bear the cost of replacements.

Meanwhile, Five Star Logistics Terminal has been criticised for its slow service delivery, with some vehicles taking up to four weeks to be released. A clearing agent, Adarabioyo Samuel, expressed his dissatisfaction with the security measures at the terminal, noting a stark contrast to the more stringent protocols observed at other terminals.

“The lack of robust monitoring and surveillance systems has made vehicles easy targets for vandalism and theft at Five Star,” he stated. An importer, Jude Okafor, shared his frustration after having to replace a vehicle key at a cost of N120,000 because the original was missing upon the vehicle’s arrival.

“You can’t put your mind at rest if you have a vehicle to clear at Five Star because of the porous security,” he lamented. Additional issues highlighted by clearing agents include delays in vehicle transfers to off-dock terminals, slow issuance of debit notes, and frequent server network failures that disrupt processing times.

These operational delays compound the logistical challenges faced by stakeholders, causing significant disruptions to supply chains and inflating costs. The Secretary-General of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Festus Ukwu, confirmed the deteriorating conditions at the terminal.

He criticised the terminal operators for their lack of transparency and accountability, particularly in failing to provide condition reports for incoming vehicles, a practice that used to be standard.

“This omission makes it impossible to verify the state of vehicles upon entry, and we suspect that some damages might be occurring within the terminal grounds, possibly even by terminal staff,” Ukwu explained.

He urged for immediate action to rectify the situation, calling for enhanced security measures and streamlined processes. Ukwu said the ongoing issues at the terminal signalled the need for a collaborative effort between terminal operators, regulatory authorities, and industry players to restore confidence in the terminal’s operations and ensure efficient trade facilitation through the nation’s ports.

When approached for comment, the Head of Planning and Statistics at the terminal, Chucks Okereafor, declined to comment, stating, “Let me enjoy my holiday break, I can’t say anything for now.”

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