Ports are essential services obligated to remain open at all times including weekends and public holidays, says the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN).
In a statement it issued over the weekend, STOAN said the concession agreement stipulates 24/7 round the clock operation at the ports, a position reinforced by former Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar at a meeting he held with operators, shipping companies, representatives of government agencies and port users on September 27 2013 at the Western Ports office of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Apapa where it was emphasized that all parties must turn up for cargo examination and delivery on weekends and public holidays.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had also, at various times, reiterated the importance of weekend and public holiday operations at the port.
“For example, on 2nd October 2013, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) issued a public statement to the effect that there were cargo clearance operations at the various terminals on October 1,” said STOAN Chairman, Princess Vicky Haastrup.
Haastrup said it is in the higher interest of the larger port community that the ports remain open everyday for both ship and landside operations.
“24/7 operation provides the necessary spread to eliminate congestion and unnecessary backlog of consignments inside the terminals. It makes the ports a lot more efficient and is mandatory.
“The terminals are open for full operation on weekends and public holidays and many consignees take delivery of their cargo on such days.
“Traffic is lighter and the rush is not as bad as what you see on week days so we urge those who are not taking advantage of these days to do so,” Haastrup said.
The association said since terminals are open during weekends and public holidays, operators are bound to apply relevant charges.