Ikaki Igoni
A maritime expert, Sir Enoch Iwueze has flayed the Federal Government intention to begin the palletization of containerized cargo imports to Nigeria from next year.
Iwueze’s position is coming on the heels of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun recently-announced Revised Import-Export Guidelines which kicks off January, 2018.
As announced by Adeosun, the guideline among other things, provides that from next month there will be palletization of containerized cargo imports into Nigeria.
Iwueze who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Air Sea Freighters Limited stated that the decision of the Federal Government raises many unanswered questions just as it raises many issues.
In an interview with reporters, the maritime expert with over three decades of experience said: “Although the ministry is yet to release list of goods that will be involved in the palletization and those to be exempted, looking at one of the conditions of allowing two foot space of clearance all round between the container walls and the cargo in order to allow customs officers to move round the container for inspection, is going to be contentious, considering the spaces to be wasted in relation to the freight chargeable by the shipping lines for a container”.
Iwueze who is also a chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) argued that the cargo to be loaded in container in such a manner that should allow two foot of clearance space all-round the container walls, has great limitation for cargo space, in which case, a lot of unutilized space will be created, which will be a waste.
According to him, the adverse effect of this will mean that the cargo tonnage/quantity normally loaded in a 20 foot container will now involve 1½ container in which case cargo for 2 x 20 foot containers will necessitate 3 x 20 foot. This, apparently, will affect the freight cost including handling and transportation at both the port of origin and destination here in Nigeria.
The maritime expert pointed out that there are many goods which packaging will not necessitate palletization in container.
While waiting for the full list to be made public the ministry, he stated that non-palletization of goods does not in any way hinder the ease of doing business in the ports.
He argued that it was the bureaucracy in documentation as well as many government agencies in the ports that serve as barriers in the ease of doing business in the nation’s seaports, airports and international land borders.
“The essence of ease of doing business in Nigeria in line with the Executive Order Number One is to help reduce the hardship on the masses but any action that will increase the cost of doing business which will have adverse effect economically on the masses should call for review. Presently some of the shipping lines have given notice to the Nigerian importers for compliance with the policy by not accepting any cargo not palletized until the government list is made public. One, therefore, foresees shortfall in statistical import tonnage in January and February, 2018”, he added.


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