April 10th, 2006 MEDIA REPORT #1

Volume of imports and exports through the Apapa Port between January and March this year rose slightly by about seven per cent despite the ban imposed on the shipping of some items into and out of the country last year. Statistics collated at the port showed that 3.185,689 metric tones of goods passed through the port during the periods compared to 2,960,986 metric tones in the corresponding period of last year. A breakdown indicated that the port recorded 903,323 metric tones of goods in January, 1,114,569 in February and 1,167,797 in March. Investigations also revealed that the goods comprise 3.1 and 51,370 metric tones of imports and exports respectively. The port posted 884,723, 1,098,069 and 1,151,527 metric tones of imports respectively in the first three months but only 18,600, 16,500 and 16,270 metric tones of exports during the same period.

The port’s public relations officer Josephine Moltok confirmed the figures and attributed the slight rise in the volume of goods to the level of patronage of the port by shipping companies and importers. It was gathered that some shipping companies diverted their vessels from Tin Can to Apapa Port early in the year due to some delay they were allegedly experiencing in the turn around time of their vessels. The development was also hinged on the improvement in the ship turn around time of vessels at the Apapa Port and some incentives put in place by the Lagos Port Complex Manager, Mansur Ajala. Most of the 41 additional items which importation into the country was prohibited last year were mostly imported through the port before they were banned.

Though government has promised to urban some of the items on the grounds that it was wrongly advised to ban them as their production has not commenced earnestly in the country but the promise is yet to be fulfilled. Some of the banned imports include plastics, bottled water, printed textiles, toothpicks, children’s wares and furniture while the exports comprise scrap metals, hides and skin, timber among others. It was also learnt that the port management has moved in recent times to ensure a conducive atmosphere for all stakeholders at the port to operate as part of the ongoing implementation of the international ship and port facility security (ISPS) code. The port has thus entered into discussions with the flour mills of Nigeria Limited, its tenant with a view to enduring that the company properly organizes its operations in such a way that the effluents from its production no longer constitute a sourced of pollution at the ports. It has also taken steps to check the traffic congestion caused by trailers conveying goods outside the port to ensure adequate flow of traffic within the port.

Reliable sources told the BUSINESS TIMES that the port manager has already ensured that the port environment is clean so that it can live to its bidding as the gate way to the nation’s economy. It was gathered that the port had to champion the clearing of the heaps of refuse usually dumped along the access road leading to the ports’ gates as part of measures to ensure a clean environment. 

Story By Shola Fadeyi

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