Nigeria drops suspension against Maersk and Cosco, gives two weeks to comply with holding bay regs

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says it has reviewed a suspension of four container lines that included Maersk Line and Cosco Shipping, giving them two weeks to comply with measures on holding bays for containers, while the lines themselves say they have done nothing wrong.

The NPA had suspended local operations of Maersk, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal at Lagos Port from 14 July for 10 days saying the lines had failed to comply with a directive to provide holding bays for their containers.

The NPA said it had reviewed the suspension ordering services be restored and now given the companies two weeks from 20 July to comply with the directive.

“Among the conditions are that the affected companies must increase the capacity of their Holding Bays ranging from 1,800 teu to 7,500 teu; that the affected companies will sign-off on the volume capacity of the Holding Bays verified at the end of the grace period and that at the expiration of the two weeks an inspection will be conducted to ascertain compliance and that the Authority warned, thereafter further sanctions will be applied on failure to meet the said conditions,” the authority said in a statement.

“The decision by the NPA to grant the period of grace was after due consideration of their presentations at the meeting and a subsequent joint inspection on their existing facilities,” NPA added.

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Cosco Shipping stated that it had complied with all local regulations. “We will take the opportunity to officially declare that Cosco Shipping Lines and its Nigerian office has been operating in strict compliance with local laws and regulations. We have always kept in close communication with local authorities, all vessels operated as scheduled, and we have not encountered any negative impact in the past or plan to in the future. Further contact with local authorities has confirmed that all of our vessels calling Nigerian ports are operating as scheduled,” the Chinese company said.

Further it blamed operating difficulties at the port on local truck strikes. “Regarding our previous official notification, Cocso Shipping Lines has encountered low terminal operation efficiency due to truck driver strikes. We are paying close attention to the progress of these strikes and will issue relevant notifications for any necessary updates.”

Maersk Nigeria said last week that it had fully complied with the directive. “It is misguiding for NPA to suspend Maersk Nigeria Limited for failing to acquire and operate holding bays for empty containers, as Maersk Nigeria Limited operates four holding bays within the Lagos environ with a storage capacity of 8,150 teu which is more than 50% of the discharge average,” the line was quoted as saying in local press.

Posted 24 July 2018

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News