In a simultaneous operation, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has closed down all operations of Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) both at its Polysonic Mall head office in Apapa, as well as its terminal located at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.
Nigerian Shippers Council’s enforcement and regulatory team led by the Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Mrs. Celine Ifeora led some fierce-looking policemen to close down the headquarters of TICT at Polysonic Mall, while another team lead by Mr. Adesina Sarumi shut the terminal.
Addressing clearing agents and dockworkers loitering around the terminal, an Assistant Director at the NSC, Mr. Adesina Peter, said the Shippers Council as the port’s economic regulator, has been inundated with myriads of complaints on alleged transfer of importers containers to off-dock terminals without the consent of the owners.
He also alleged that the terminal was charging clearing agents arbitrary storage charges and fees for other services not rendered.
The TICT staff were given five minutes to clear their table before they were sent out.
Also speaking, Mrs. Ifeora Celine said, “We got information that the terminal operator indiscriminately transfer people’s containers without their consent to the off-dock terminals and make them to pay the storage and transfer charges and this adds to the cost of doing business and this does not augur well for the economy.
“We try to let them see reason why the economy should be salvaged at this point in time but the money they are making is more important to them than making the economy better.”
She added. “We have the authority of the federal government to come and enforce the shippers’ council regulatory authority on them. My colleagues have also gone to their office to carry out the regulatory enforcement on them. What we are here to do is to seal up the terminal for a while, pending when they will cooperate and abide by the rules.
“We seek the cooperation of all stakeholders to win this fight, what we are championing is for the interest of the economy. We all patronise the market and we know the cost of things in the country right now, which is more aggravated by what you pay in charges because whatever you pay in form of arbitrary charges will be added to the cost of food.”
Also, the Shippers Council has however assured clearing agents that it would ensure that they do not receive any storage charges from Wednesday until the matter is resolved.