The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has slammed a 10-day suspension on Maersk and three other shipping companies that allegedly failed to comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays.

This was announced in a statement by Isah Suwaid, the authority’s assistant general manager, corporate and strategic communications division.

NPA said it took the decision as part of efforts to resolve the protest by truck drivers at the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island ports, Lagos.

The other companies affected are Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal.

NPA said it also discovered that the companies import large number of containers which they “dump” at the said destinations, thereby causing gridlock.

The suspension will take effect from July 14.

“The suspension, follows the authority’s checks, which revealed that the four companies have failed to fully comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays as they have either failed to utilise their holding bays at all or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with,” the statement read.

“Some of these companies have also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.

“These conducts have contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Port, spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis where truck drivers with no immediate business at the ports now park their trucks.

“At the expiration of this suspension, the authority will review the level of compliance to its directives and determine further actions.

“In addition to this, the NPA will henceforth embark on a regular compliance check of the operations of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators and defaulters will be sanctioned.”

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