The Nigerian Ports Authority has introduced emergency measures to tackle mounting congestion at the ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island in the Nigerian economic capital Lagos
In a statement, Hapag Lloyd said: “These operational delays heavily affect our two services, MIAX and MWX, which contain both terminals in their long-term schedules…we are continuously evaluating the situation and taking schedule integrity measures for each vessel approaching Port of Lagos.” The shipping line is now transferring cargo by barge between the two ports when it is forced to miss out either of them on its scheduled services.
Since 27 January, NPA has required vessels arriving to discharge cargo have been directed to the terminal with the shortest waiting time. If waiting times exceed four days; then ships are asked to unload their cargo in the east of the country. Press reports in the country suggest that at least 26 vessels were waiting to berth at the Lagos ports on 27 January.
Nigeria badly needs more port capacity, particularly in Lagos State, but the development of new ports at Lekki and Badagry has been repeatedly delayed, increasing the pressure on the Lagos ports. Apapa and Tin Can Island are both hemmed in by the city, leaving little room for expansion, while access roads are unable to cope with peak traffic.
The situation has been exacerbated by the closure of Nigeria’s land borders for the past three months in an effort to cut smuggling and encourage domestic production. However, the measure has severely affected cargo transport across the region.