| Code: 59518 |

TIN news:         Terminal operators under the aegis of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) have accused the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) of false claims to its achievements in the area of sanitising port operations, achieving a new port order and reducing port charges at the nation’s seaports.
“This is mere propaganda tailored towards making the NSC look like they are working as economic regulators. The so-called achievements have been recorded long before they came onboard, so any attempt to appropriate these achievements is therefore misleading,” STOAN said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Bolaji Akinola.
The association further said it did not recognise NSC as port economic regulator and had challenged the Council’s powers in court, saying “the port concession agreement is clear on who the interim port regulator is.
“The agreement between the Federal Government and the concessionaires clearly recognised the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as the Lessor and interim regulator until there is a change in the law assigning the roles of port regulator to another government authority.”
According to STOAN spokesman, there has not been any law empowering NSC to regulate and that is why the association is in court to challenge the Council’s authority to regulate the port, as “the case is now before the Court of Appeal.”
The achievements recorded in the port so far were made possible by the investments and commitments of its members and not due to any effort of the NSC, the STOAN spokesman said.
“NSC’s comments portray Nigerian ports in the negative light to the international shipping community. The Council has been deliberately making derogatory statements against terminal operators with the aim of damaging our reputation, such is capable of resulting to vessel diversion or encouraging vessels to come at a premium charges on imports,” they said.
Nigerian ports have indeed achieved tremendous progress since the port concession due to investments worth over N1 billion in modernising and upgrading the ports, training of port workers, acquisition of cargo handling equipments and reducing vessel waiting time by more than 30 days, Akinola noted.
He believed that terminal operators added much value to development of the ports and Nigerian economy, noting that “before port concession, vessels queued up for more than 30 days before berthing at the ports, but immediately we came on board, we eliminated this, thereby saving importers over N35 billion paid annually as congestion surcharges. That is a huge savings to the Nigerian economy. Terminal handling charges were also slashed by 33 percent.”

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