The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders on Tuesday said the Federal Government and port operators lost about N40bn to the 11-day strike which crippled Apapa Port last month.
This was contained in a statement in Lagos by the Public Relations Officer of the association, Mr Simeon Nwonu.
The statement described the strike as needless.
It expressed concern over the long ship waiting time experienced at the port during the strike.
NAGAFF said, “For the avoidance of doubt, it is on record that the alleged complaint against APMT operations (the concessionaire of the Apapa Container Terminal) is not peculiar to Apapa Port.
“The issue of arbitrary charges is a matter which affects almost all terminal operators in Nigerian ports. This matter, at present, is being handled by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the commercial regulator.
“We are aware that a case is pending at the High Court between the terminal operators and Nigerian Shippers’ Council with regards to arbitrary charges.”
It APMT as a world-class terminal operator and an investor in Nigeria that required the support and protection of the country.
“If the agency of government, which has the schedule to administer our ports had performed well, it is obvious that our ports may not have been ‘concessioned’,” the association added.
The statement said a good example was that of the Nigeria Customs Service, which had retrieved its statutory function from the service providers after several years, with the help of the freight forwarders of Nigeria.
NAGAFF said, “We do hope that the Nigerian Ports Authority will take advantage, using its oversight functions to ensure that our ports are friendly and competitive.
“The essence and primary objective of port concession is to bring about efficiency, competitiveness and reduction of costs.
“It is most unfortunate that human element problems, including but not limited to corruption; non-compliance with import regulations, disregard for rule of law and inadequate cargo handling equipment are the bane of our port operations.
“The Nigerian seaports, like any other all over the world, are transit areas for goods and persons. What we see today is that ports are being used as warehouses and thereby distorting the entire system in ports administration and management.’’