| Code: 112371 |

TIN news:  PORT and Terminal Multi-Purpose Services Limited, (PTML) through its shipping arm; Grimaldi Shipping has reduced freight rates on vehicle importation in a bid to address declining vehicle imports through its terminal occasioned by the current economic recession. Vanguard investigation reveals that vehicle imports through the company’s terminal have been on the downward trend since the beginning of the year. To address this development the company, two weeks ago, reduced freight charge per vehicle to $900 from $1,400 charged. Confirming this development, Public Relations Officer of the PTML Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Steve Okonmah said that the number of vessels that berthed at the terminal dropped by 15 vessels from 125 vessels in 2015 to 110 in 2016.
According to him, the number of 20 foot containers received in 2015 was 15,352,000, this however dropped to 10, 928,000 in 2016, indicating decline of 4,414,000. Also, the number of 40 foot containers received dropped from 10,000 in 2015 to 8,000 in 2016. According to Okonmma, the number of vehicles imported through the terminal dropped from 35,000 in 2015, to 27,000 in 2016 showed that 27,000. A clearing agent operating at the PTML Terminal, Elder Sunday Nnebeh described the year 2016 as the worst in the history of Nigerian ports. He said that government policies have affected so many importers so much that they could not clear their cargoes from the port. He said the cargoes seen at the port are those stuck on demurrage .
“ 2016 is the worst year ever that we have witnessed in terms of importation, the policy has affected all operators, even Abacha that we termed the worst was not like this” “They used to charge $1,400 per vehicle but now they are collecting $900 from America to Nigeria. It will also be a huge loss for them as terminal operator if people are not importing because they cannot bring in an empty vessel, they will pay heavily here in dollars” he said Nnebeh however said that the situation is not peculiar to Grimaldi Shipping alone, it is also prevalent at Five Star Logistics Terminal and Ports and Cargo Terminal. Similarly, Chairman of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) at PTMLL chapter, Mr. George Okafor said that many of the vehicles seen inside the terminal are those whose owners do not have money to clear them. Former spokesman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Mr.
Gani Adeola said that generally, there has been no improvement in vehicle importation despite the yuletide season. According to him, the situation at Grimaldi and PTML Terminal is obtainable at other terminals. He also noted that PTML reduced its staff strength by 70percent. According him, presently at the account department, there are just four down from more than more than 20.
“When you want to measure activities at a terminal or shipping line, you judge from the number of vessels that comes in periodically. Sometimes, Grimaldi does not have a single vessel, unlike before when two or more vessels call at their terminal. “Those coming in now are struggling, a vessel that is supposed to come in with 4,500 vehicles now come in with 50 cars and forty containers” “Nothing has changed because the bottlenecks are still there, the forex policy, the auto policy and so on”.. We have not heard anything from this government about the maritime sector policy, nothing has changed, and we are still expecting them to bring positive policies that would encourage investors” he said.

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