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Stakeholders to record loss – VELOXNEWS


By Steve Agbota

Following Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) decision to deactivate Five Star Logistics Terminal on the Customs portal, port stakeholders are lamenting the impending huge economic losses to the nation. They argued that several Fast Track goods and reefer cargoes are already stuck at the terminal following the impromptu deactivation of the Customs e-portal, an action said to be a negation of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).

Worried by the fiscal and supply chain challenges from the development, economic experts have condemned the Customs approach as punitive action on the seaport terminal inhibits the operations of other service users at the port facility.

A veteran freight forwarder and member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Dr. Ikenna Nwosu described Customs action as irrational and a violation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) treaty on trade facilitation.

Nwosu also observed that there have been several cases of unpaid assessments at the ports as APMT and Ports & Cargo guilty of the same crime previously, yet their terminals weren’t closed. According to the economic expert, the cost implication of shutting the terminal’s access to the Customs portal over N97million isn’t a wise move when considering that Five Star’s terminal facility enables Customs generate over N150 million daily. “This development calls to question the efficiency of Customs and the Service should unseal that terminal immediately.

“It is wrong to technically shut the terminal and disrupt trade because there was no prior notice for port users to stop sending cargoes to the facility. Customs can’t collect duties, yet stop people from accessing their cargoes,” he said.

Nwosu stressed that the consignees responsible for the vehicle imports should be made to pay the duties and he warned that consignees who have Fast Track goods and reefer cargoes could sue Customs over the impromptu deactivation of Five Star Logistics Terminal. Another freight agent who works at the terminal but prefers anonymity revealed that the N97 million being demanded by Customs for unpaid assessment borders on some vehicles which are suspected to have entered the nation via land borders.

He expressed dissatisfaction as the situation has brought discomfort to other port users especially those who have Fast Track containers and reefer cargoes stuck at the terminal, lamenting that Nigerian shippers will suffer additional demurrage costs even if the terminal decides to waive storage charges after the quagmire.

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