Stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector converged yesterday to bemoan the implication of high port charges on industries in the country. Speaking at the maiden edition of the national conference of the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN), manufacturers described charges as a cankerworm that has forced so many companies into extinction. The stakeholders, including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACIMMA), Association Of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), among others, who gathered at a maritime industry summit in Lagos yesterday, bemoaned the effect of high port charges on the survival of their businesses.
President, MAN, Frank Udemba Jacobs, said port charges were major source of worry for the manufacturers and it has contributed to high cost of production. Jacobs therefore called for reasonable ports charges. Jacobs, who was represented by Niran Olajobi, also bemoaned the deplorable of ports access roads and the gridlock, which has contributed to the charges, urging government to immediately fix the roads. President, NACIMMA, Mrs Alaba Lawson, commended the federal government on the initiatives of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) for its action plan aimed at creating enabling environment and easy movement of goods across borders, calling for full implementation of the action plan. Speaking on the theme: “Port Charges: How Plausible?” she said, “Delay in clearance of cargoes at Nigerian ports still persist despite PEBEC’s intervention which is a far cry from what is practicable in other African ports such as Ghana and Benin republic. The ports have a low level automation, database and integrated process system.