The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) on Monday insisted that the ports should remain open for 24 hours, including weekends and public holidays, to eliminate congestion.
The Spokesman of STOAN, Mr Bolaji Akinola, stated this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.
The statement said the concession agreement provided for 24-hour operation at the ports.
It explained that this was a position reinforced by a former Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, at a meeting he held with stakeholders on Sept. 27, 2013 at the Western Ports office of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Apapa, Lagos.
The statement said the meeting noted that all parties must turn up for cargo examination and delivery on weekends and public holidays.
“The NPA had also, at various times, reiterated the importance of weekend and public holiday operations at the ports.
“For example, on Oct. 2, 2013, the NPA issued a public statement to the effect that there were cargo clearance operations at the various terminals on Oct. 1,’’ STOAN Chairman, Mrs Vicky Haastrup said.
Haastrup said it was in the interest of the larger port community that the ports remained open every day for both ships and land side operations.
“The 24-hour 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 weekdays; so we urge those who are not taking advantage of these days to do so,’’ Haastrup said.
She added that since terminals were opened during weekends and public holidays, operators were bound to apply relevant charges.