A shipowner and former President of the Nigerian Association of Indigenous Ship-Owners Association, Aminu Umar, has explained why shipping companies find it difficult to remove empty containers.
Aminu, who spoke in a telephone conversation with our correspondent in Lagos on Sunday, said taking back empty containers was like accepting empty vessels, which was of disadvantage to shipping companies.
“As the container stays before you take them out, you should be able to get an export cargo. The biggest challenge that I am seeing is that no shipping line wants to take an empty container because what it means is that you are taking an empty vessel. Yes, it means you are taking an empty truck with nothing inside it. For instance, if you use a truck to take some cargoes to the North, you will expect the truck to return with something, but if the truck goes and there is nothing in it, what it means is that you have an empty container. The shipping companies that are taking empty containers are losing.”
Shipping companies looking for export cargoes
He said that shipping companies were looking for export cargoes to take out instead of going with empty vessels.
“So, what they are trying to do is to move the containers when they have the cargoes to move. They may load cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seeds or cotton, but there must be something inside. The majority of terminal operators are actually liner companies. They are terminal operators and shipping companies. If they are complaining, it means they can do something about that,” he said.
Inability to either provide holding bays
It will be recalled that terminal operators are in the habit of littering the nation’s seaports with empty containers because of their inability to either provide holding bays or ship them back to their ports of origin.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service has said that the recent $3.2bn agreement with a Chinese-led consortium, Africa Finance Corporation, and China’s Huawei Technologies Limited, will not take away the core functions of the service.
Did you subscribe to our newsletter?
It’s free! Click here to subscribe!