The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hajia Hadiza Bala-Usman, has called on terminal operators, shipping companies and allied stakeholders to eradicate the present congestion at the nation’s seaports.

Bala-Usman, represented by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Mr Adams Jatto made the call during a meeting with key stakeholders in the authority’s Corporate Headquarters in Lagos on Friday.

According to her, the issue of port congestion should be of concern to all stakeholders and therefore, the stakeholders should look into the issue of evacuation of empty containers and increase in free days of storage.

“Port operators should look into wavering of demurrage for a definite period of time and creating a window of some period to accommodate the concerns of importers,’’ she said.

The managing director said the meeting was convened in compliance with a directive from the Vice President and Chairman, Ease of Doing Business Council, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on the need to find lasting solution to the issue of port congestion.

She said that the NPA would do everything possible to facilitate ease of trade in the maritime sector.

According to her, the authority will also encourage shipping companies to patronise other ports outside Lagos, particularly the Onne Port.

Bala-Usman informed the terminal operators that the NPA had also made efforts to include the use of barges to move cargoes to Ikorodu.

She added that the authority was also collaborating with other stakeholders to construct access roads in Apapa and encouraged the Dangote Private Jetty Project.

Bala-Usman also noted that the authority had also promoted the Intermodal Transportation System in the country to facilitate trade.

The managing director also responded to the concerns raised by some terminal operators about the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) not auctioning any cargo at the port in recent times.

She said that her management had appealed to the NCS to step up efforts at auctioning overtime cargoes on time in order to discourage importers from turning the port into a storage facility.

Bala-Usman said that the owners of overtime cargo should be asked to remove them immediately.

Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Mrs Vicky Haastrup of the ENL Consortium Ltd., said that the measures being taken by the Federal Government would affect their revenue negatively.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr Sekonte Davies and other top NPA management staff attended the meeting. (NAN).