The 100% compliance team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has expressed displeasure over the terrible and inhuman environment freight forwarders and other publics who do business at the SAPID Terminal 1 Abule Oshun are subjected.
Ibrahim Tanko, National Coordinator of the team disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos, during the week.
Tanko who was at the terminal with his team expressed deep concern as he could not stand the harsh and hot atmosphere that pervaded the atmosphere within the short period of time they were in the place causing them to sweat uncontrollably even with oscillating fans on.
Tanko said it was unbelievable that people could be made to work, function under such environment saying that nobody could think meaningfully under such dehumanizing working environment.
Emphasising that the Customs Deputy Controller at the terminal confirmed the terrible situation where only one or two air conditioners were seen in the environment.
The manager of the SAPID terminal said the situation was caused by failure of the contractor that installed the transparent roofing sheet in the area that failed to install impact-resistant and heat-resistant sheets on the roof.
Tanko however stated, “I have intention of writing them and giving them a deadline that if they do not do anything, we are going to seal that place. They have appealed to us that they have taken decision that by next week, they will start work on it. But I have insisted am going to serve them letter tomorrow.
“I have also observed that the terminal is unkept, looks like a refuse dump. The deputy comptroller there said it’s only his office that has an air conditioner. If you look at the entrance, it doesn’t appear like a bonded terminal presumably due to the ongoing road construction in the area.
The 100% compliance Coordinator stated they were in the area to introduce NAGAFF representative in the area Nzube Igbokwe Donatus, to the appropriate quarters, strengthen relationship among their members(freight forwarders) and the customs, the terminal operators. As well as find lasting solution to the under utilization of some of the bonded terminals in the area.
“You can see the large vast area of GMT Bonded Terminal, no single container is in that place as we have seen.
While interacting with the General Manager of the GMT Bonded Terminals, Mr. Waseem Rasheed, the NAGAFF Task Team observed that the bonded terminal is currently not being utilized.
The GMT Terminal which is under the Apapa Customs Command has APMT as its major terminal operator and has a spacious facility to handle over 3,000 containers.
Further to that, it was observed that multiple Reach Stackers, cranes, among other equipment are lying fallow since the terminal hasn’t received any container in over five months now.
They strongly queried the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and AP Moller Terminal Apapa for depriving bonded terminals as GMT requisite cargoes.
Alhaji Tanko stated, “Despite the pressure at Apapa port and complaints about congestion, we still have terminals that are abandoned like the GMT Terminal.
“We observed there is no single container at the terminal because according to the managers of the bonded terminal, APMT refused to send containers to the bonded terminal.
“We are deeply concerned that the investors were encouraged to spend money in setting up such a huge facility that can take over 5,000 containers yet there is no activity going on there. Since they were licensed by Customs, why are they being deprived of containers while we battle with congestion at Apapa on daily basis?
The chairman assured that his team would take further steps and discuss with the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Command and equally engage the managers of APMT Apapa to find out if there are underlying factors obstructing harnessing such bonded terminals as GMT.
Reacting, the General Manager of the GMT Bonded Terminals, Waseem Rasheed stated that cargoes are only sent to other bonded terminals from APMT when there is no space in APMT Apapa.
“In over 4 or 5 months we haven’t had any business to do. We just come to the office to sit down and hope that cargoes arrive. We have to pay staff salaries, we have huge equipment with reach stackers, cranes; we also have to provide security, power supply, among other things without doing any business.
” You can see, we are on a good location here in Abule Oshun with just five minutes drive from here to the Badagry expressway, the road here is undergoing serious reconstruction, Rasheed stated.
On a visit to the Classic bonded terminal also in the area, the Task Team where told of the menacing activities of ‘Agberos’ that subject trucks to pay such unwholesome fees ranging from N5000 per truck and N10,000 per container a situation Tanko frowned at.
He said, “Am going to write to the LGA chairman to schedule a meeting between us and the head of the Agbero there this week. So that we can be able to address that. We will use our political wing to address the matter. Our challenge there is not with terminal operators not LGA, but with Agbero, we will face that squarely.”