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Lagos port congestion worsens, exporters reroute cargoes to P/Harcourt, Calabar

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Lagos port congestion is worsening and desperate exporters are beginning to reroute their cargoes to Port Harcourt and Calabar ports at very high cost.

This development, according to Temitayo Akorede, operation officer, Wameny Nigeria Limited, has caused a surge at the Port Harcourt port.

Akorede quoted by TheCable said the Port Harcourt port is now attractive to exporters because of the seamless clearing process and documentation, making business less difficult.

“I am very certain of Port Harcourt. In Port Harcourt, there is less paperwork process, unlike Lagos, which demands unnecessary documentation,” Akorede said.

Adeola Adegoke, president of the Cocoa Farmers Association Nigeria (CFAN), also confirmed to TheCable that shippers are now moving their cargoes through Calabar Port rather than Lagos Port.

“Yes indeed, and the fact that Apapa port has a lot of congestion now,” Adeola said.

Last year, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said over 6,000 abandoned containers across ports caused congestion — the highest in Lagos.

 

NPA added that the abandoned shipments, usually known as overtime cargoes, include over 1,800 vehicles.

 

The lingering bottlenecks at the ports reportedly cost exporters around N90 billion in damaged products, according to the Shippers Association of Lagos.

In February 2021, the agency launched an electronic call-up system (ETO app) to reduce traffic at ports.

 

While the application was successful in cutting down gridlock around the roads inbound the Apapa Port to 80 percent, the congestion persists, especially at the Tincan terminal, where ETO is hardly used.

“I think they should bring more options to expedite the export process at Lagos port, most especially at Tincan,” Akorede added.

“For instance, Tincan hardly follows all these processes of Good2go and ETO. That is why a lot of things happen at Tincan.”

Last week, Mohammed Bello-Koko, the new managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), pledged to ease gridlock at Nigeria’s ports and fully automate the ports system.

 

He said the new leadership would pursue rehabilitation of decaying ports infrastructure, improve marine services, cut expenditures, and improve revenue.

While stakeholders are hoping for improvement, the continued congestion at the Lagos port placed a burden on export activities, forcing exporters to seek alternative routes.

 

Adeniyi Shola, president of Avocado Society of Nigerian, told TheCable that even before exporters started diverting cargoes to Calabar, they went through Cotonou because of the ease of clearing and swift processes.

 

 

Shola complained about the situation at the Lagos ports, noting that it could take up to four weeks for clearing a container, and after clearance, it is difficult to get out of the Apapa.

According to him, if the problem is not addressed, the congestion may spread to the ports.

 

“The congestion will also happen in all those places because we really lack effectiveness as a nation. This is a country of 200 million with over 60 percent of the people active in business,” he said.

 

“Another problem is also when you have over 10 agencies doing the same thing. It is pathetic. The number of agencies at the ports needs to be reduced.”

Business

Emirates Suspends All Nigerian Flights Over $85m Blocked Funds

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Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of its flights from Nigeria with effect from September 1, 2022.
The decision was due to the inability of the airline to repatriate its funds from Nigeria.
Recall that the airline had in a leaked letter to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said it would reduce its frequencies in Nigeria from 11 to seven by mid August over its trapped $85m in Nigeria.
Daily Trust reports that other airlines may also follow suit as blocked funds belonging to foreign airlines have hit over $600m which they are unable to repatriate as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could not meet airlines’ request for dollars.
In line with the bilateral air service agreements (BASAs), foreign airlines are expected to issue their tickets in naira while the CBN provides the dollar equivalence for repatriation to their home countries.
In a statement on Thursday morning, Emirates said it would stop all its flights to Nigeria, adding it might re-evaluate its decision if there was any positive development in the coming days.
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The statement read: “Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.
“Regrettably there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1 September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.
“Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision. We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much needed connectivity for Nigerian travellers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”
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Niger, Benin, Togo Owe Nigeria N5.8bn For Power In 2020 – Report

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The Republic of the Niger, Republic of Benin and Togolese Republic did not pay a N5.86 billion electricity debt in 2020 from an invoice of N16.31bn issued to them by the Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM) for the year.

According to the report for 2020 released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the companies for each of the countries are Societe Nigerienne d’electricite (SNE), Societe Beninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) and Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET) respectively.

The remittances showed that the Nigerian Market Operator (MO) gave the countries N16.31bn from which they paid N10.45bn for the services received from MO, while N5.86bn was outstanding.

Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd, termed a special customer in Nigeria, and its host community did not pay anything after consuming N1.08bn worth of electricity in the year. The invoice from Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) to the company was N930m, while that of MO was N150m. NERC recommended in the report that, “MO and NBET must activate the relevant safeguards against continued non-settlement of market obligations by these market participants.”

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Also, in 2020 NERC issued five new generation licences and renewed three others which would add 667.70 megawatts (MW) to the grid. The new licences can add 235MW while the renewed licences were for 346MW capacity of electricity generation. It also gave approval to 33 Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) and certified 17 Meter Service Providers (MSPs).

On metering, the report indicated that 537,400 meters were installed for consumers in 2020, a 60.4 per cent higher figure than the 334,896 meters installed in 2019.

Despite this, the huge metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry. Registered customers grew to 11,841,819 (11.8m) in 2020 but just 4,666,191 (4.6m) or 39.40 per cent of them were metered.

“Therefore, 60.60 per cent of the registered electricity customers are on estimated billing contributing to apathy toward payment for electricity bills,” it stated.

Daily Trust

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Chinese contractor lays final track beam of Lagos blue rail

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  • New rail line may extend to Agbara, Ogun State

The laying of the last track beam (T-beam) of a 27-kilometre Lagos Blue Rail Mass Transit commenced on Wednesday with a promise to deliver the landmark project in December this year as scheduled.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu flagged off the engineering procedure at the site of the Marina station of the rail project.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said, “with the laying of the final T-Beam, all difficult civil works standing in the way of the Lagos Blue Rail Line, which started in 2012, have been overcome.

“The contractor – China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) – will now go ahead to set the rail tracks along the alignment and move the project to completion.”

It said Governor Sanwo-Olu got the commitment of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the contractor to the December deadline for the Blue Line project’s completion.

Lagos Government will be delivering two rail mass transit projects within the first term of the Sanwo-Olu administration. The Blue Line traversing between Mile 2 and Marina will be operated on Electric Motor Unit (EMU); while the 37-kilometre Red Line, from Agbado to Ebute Metta, will operate on Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).

Speaking at the launch of the last T-Beam on the Blue Line, Sanwo-Olu said the achievement signposted his administration’s commitment to bringing succour to Lagosians and give them choices in mass transportation.

The governor said the rail projects represented the audacity of his administration’s vision to deliver a robust integrated transit system as encapsulated in the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of his government’s T.H.E.M.E.S. development agenda.

He said, “Today’s final T-beam launch indicates that we are gradually inching to the completion of the civil infrastructure for the first phase of the Blue Line traversing from Mile 2 to Marina. The engineering work today completes a total of 1,967 piles foundation, while we have also completed three 306 platforms, 310 piers, 267 cover beams and erection of 984 T-beams.

“We are not just making promises; people are beginning to see for themselves that all the milestones and the difficult tasks we are meant to achieve to ensure operation of the Blue Line are being achieved. The Marina Station, which is the iconic terminal for the Blue Line, will be completed within two-and-half months. I am restating here that we will formally complete this Blue Line before December 31, 2022.”

The governor said the two sets of EMU coaches already procured for the Blue Line operations would arrive in Lagos from China before the end of October. He said the rail line would be test run immediately after completion, while passenger movement would start within the first quarter of 2023.

Sanwo-Olu said the construction of the second phase of the Blue Line project would commence after the start of operation, which would extend the rail project from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.

He said Blue Line stations would be built at Festac, Alakija, Trade Fair, Volkswagen, LASU and Okokomaiko.

The governor disclosed that talks were being held with the Ogun State Government for possible extension of the rail line to Agbara.

He said, “The second phase of the Blue Line project will be an easy infrastructure to develop because the marked alignment for stations and tracks are largely at grid level. While we are at this, the Red Line is also on the way. This is a start-and-end project for our administration, with about seven stations concurrently being built. This will redefine mass transportation in Lagos.

“To our citizens, I say the Blue Line is for real and you will ride on it in no distant future. For the Doubting Thomases and people that do not like our face, their eyes cannot disbelieve in the infrastructure we are bequeathing to the citizens of our State. They cannot disbelieve in our bold effort and commitment to improve mobility and deliver transport infrastructure that brings ease to our people.”

LAMATA Managing Director, Abimbola Akinajo, an engineer, said the first 13-kilometre stretch of the Blue Line construction was divided into four phases to enable the government to fund the project from its internally generated revenue.

To get to the current status, she said the construction work experienced disturbances and delays in the relocation of submarine cables, submarine natural gas pipelines, and removal of underground shipwrecks.

“Just as we are laying the final T-beam for the rail tracks, we are also currently retrofitting the train stations at Mile 2, Alaba, Iganmu and National Theatre with light in readiness for passenger operation in the first quarter of 2023,” Akinajo said.

CCECC Chairman, Mr Liu Wei Min, described the event as the most significant level of the project.

He said, “We express our sincere gratitude to the present administration under the leadership of Mr Sanwo-Olu in reaching this milestone.

“We will continue to work to meet the ultimate target in delivering the entire project with high standards and quality.”

The T-beam laying event was also attended by Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr Chu Mao ming.

 

 

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