Nigeria suspends cargo trade

Management of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) suspend cargo export trucks from Lagos Ports for two weeks to free traffic gridlock.

The ban took effect from 22 March 2021, NPA Chief Executive Hadiza Bala Usman announced during a Monday radio programme.

Non-oil exporters yesterday criticized the decision, which they said reflects inefficiency in the management of the ports.

NPA is however standing by its decision.

“We have a backlog of over 600 trucks that have approached the port coming out of their truck parks and are currently in that location within the port corridors, within the Lilypond,” Usman complained.

“So, we are suspending all export cargoes.”

Usman said the problem is improper harmonization of procedures for export and that NPA has invited stakeholders to explore solutions.

Exporters, she said, do not wait for terminal operators to give them clearance to approach and do not get all required certifications from supervisory agencies.

She specifically listed “several custom certifications and CBN documents” among the documents that exporter need to complete before dispatching trucks.

“If any of your documents are not ready, you must remain within your location. Actually, you shouldn’t even start your journey to the ports,” she warned.

The Network of Practicing Non-oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN) complained that the suspension has damaged the credibility of Nigerian exporters.

NPNEN President Alhaji Ahmed Rabiu said at a conference event yesterday that the ban affects existing export orders and production.

“When you ban exports for two weeks, you can imagine the ripple effects. The person who has products in his warehouse has to stop production. Orders that were made have to be delayed, creating loss of confidence,” he said.

“These are issues that wouldn’t have happened if things were done right,” he said.