The Shippers Association of Lagos State has said many of the containers coming into the West African coast from Europe and Asia are old, leaking and rusted and cannot be accepted back into Europe.
According to the group, about 50 per cent are unfit, adding that this is the reason why there are so many empty containers at the seaports.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Usman, said sometime last year that containers occupied 40 per cent of Lagos ports.
The President, Shippers Association of Lagos State, Mr. Jonathan Nicol, said, “These containers are not fit to enter Nigeria. Some of them are leaking. When the shipping firms hire them, because they are bad, the owners will tell the shipping companies not to return the containers to Europe.
“Because those containers cannot be exported, it now becomes a problem where they keep them. In those days, you are not even allowed to stack more than five containers, but it is a different scenario now.”
Nicol suggested that the shipping firms should be made to pay $1,000 for storing containers in Nigeria.
He said, “If we can pay container deposit, they should also pay $1,000 for storing the container in our land; and all of these things have to go by government rules and regulations. “And that is why we commend the Nigerian Ports Authority for saying that they should have a holding bay where they keep their containers and they are kicking against that. But I think we will be able to meet at a point where all of us will reach some agreement.”
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has however said if there is any complaint received from any of the stakeholders about the containers, it would step in and investigate.
The Director, Special Duties, NSC, Mr. Igantius Nweke, confirmed this to our correspondent in a telephone interview.
He said although container issues were between the shippers and the shipping lines, the complaint unit of the NSC was on hand to resolve any disagreement that might arise.