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Customs brokers flay terminal operators’ resurgence of Wharf rats



FREIGHT forwarders have blamed the rising cases of pilfering of cargo at the nation’s seaport on the negligence by the terminal operators to do the needful in their various terminals in order to discourage the development.

  This is even as they appealed to the terminal operators to go beyond mere denials and take steps to investigate the allegation as well as embrace the use of technology in checking the trend.

The Chairman, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria, Derrick Ige noted that from time to time, something like that happens but the terminal operators always prevent the news from going out.

  “For now, apart from the one that happened at Ports & Cargo and the one that happened at Hanover then, there is no such news again and I was privileged to get the information because I have a cargo in that terminal and my boys at Hanover were working there that time. If I don’t have a cargo there then, I may not know that such a thing was going on.

  “All they needed to do is for them to tighten up their security. Like at Grimaldi now, CCTV is everywhere, even without the security man being on the floor, they are in their offices monitoring the whole terminal through the CCTV. Anything that happens, they will call the attention of the security personnel at the gate, giving them vivid description of the suspect and before the person moves out, they will get the person arrested.

  “So, if they can tighten their security and most of these pilfering are being carried out by the labour inside the ports because no stranger is allowed into the port and no one can commit such a crime without being an insider. So, such a thing is being carried out by people that are working there”, he submitted.

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On his part, the Sole Administrator, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tincan Island chapter, Ojo Peter Akintoye regretted that importers and freight forwarders alike had a culture of not holding those responsible for their cargoes to account which according to him, was the most painful aspect of the profession sometimes.

  “There are lots of things we need to educate our members about. Because of their ignorance, other stakeholders are taking advantage of them. If we have been taking people to court, if we are getting them to be responsible for their actions, a lot of things will be corrected.

  “I cleared a bus at Grimaldi, unfortunately, it was tampered and luckily enough, I told my boys when they went for examination there to give me a picture of it and they sent it to me and I consulted the importer to ascertain the condition of the bus before importation and he confirmed that the car has been tampered with and I wrote a letter to the Management of Grimaldi demanding to know the condition of the bus when they received it and they went ahead and gave us all the pictures. The one that were not there, then you are responsible for its replacement whether you like it or not but if I have failed to do that, I am telling you, they will deliver that bus to me like that and it will become the owner’s responsibility to replace them.

  “Sometimes, you need to fight for your right, you need to ask questions. So, if the issue of wharf rats that we know, the question is one; at what terminal? The terminal has to be held responsible for that. It is the terminal that will produce the person that handled the job and by the time they started dismissing one or two people, definitely, it will stop.

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  “And not only that, I think we have gone beyond the era of people doing things the old way. With CCTV cameras, things can be sorted out but these are the things these people have refused to do too. It is only few of them that have done that”, he said

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