The campaign by Nigeria's new Military Administration to break the huge shipping back-log at Lagos, the nation's principal port, is now reported to be producing results.
The campaign by Nigeria's new Military Administration to break the huge shipping back-log at Lagos, the nation's principal port, is now reported to be producing results. The situation has improved considerably in the past fortnight, when 180 ships were still waiting to sail into the harbour, mainly with cargoes of cement. Even that figure showed a reduction of 80 ships compared to the previous week.
Earlier in the month a high-powered Nigerian delegation was in London, United Kingdom, discussing the shipping crisis in Nigeria with the Baltic exchange. At that time there was a total of 400 ships waiting to berth at Lagos, of ;which 263 were carrying a total of 2.5 million tonnes of cement.
Since then the Nigerian Government has introduced emergency measures to combat the build-up of shipping. It was costing the nation heavily, and adding to the already serious problem of inflation.
The emergency measures include the removal of cumbersome customs formalities and a round-the-clock operation at the quays, greatly boosting cargo deliveries. During one day this month, thursday, 16 October, the Nigerian Ports Authority achieved a record delivery of 14,604 tonnes - more than three times the normal daily tonnage.
The Government also reached agreement with Ghana enabling Nigerian-bound ships to be diverted to Tema and Takoradi harbours. Cement unloaded there was then transported overland to Nigeria.
Concern about the number of cement vessels steaming in to the port, despite an order issued in August that ships should obtain clearance before arriving, and the huge quantity of cement involved, forced the Government to appoint a special tribunal in September. It will try to determine why it became necessary for the Nigerian Defence Ministry to order six million tonnes of cement annually, how the orders were placed and whether any officials defrauded the Government.