By Our Correspondent
Clearing agents operating in the country’s maritime industry have alleged that 85 per cent of imported used vehicles were being vandalized by shipping companies and terminal operators. The agents, who spoke separately with journalists in Lagos, said the worsening situation had led to massive job loss by practitioners, as most of their clients had stopped giving them jobs.
The youth leader of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Tincan Island Chapter, Remilekun Saliu, told our correspondent that a lot of agents had bitter experiences of being arrested and brutalized because of this issue. “Many agents have been arrested and brutalized because of the issue of missing parts that were caused by the terminals and shipping companies. A lot of professionals have lost valuable importers as a result of these problems.”
Explaining further, he said that 85 per cent of vehicle keys and sensors brought into the country sometime in March by a vessel, Grande Cameroon, were stolen. Saliu also said that the agents on several occasions had written to the management of the terminals and nothing had been done. He said: “In Grande Lagos that just berthed on 2 April, 70 per cent of the vehicles discharged had been vandalized. The majority of them did not have keys and the painful part was that the clearing agents were the ones that bore the brunt.”
Also speaking, the Deputy National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Ugochukwu Nnadi, said: “In Grimaldi what we have is not vandalism. It is pilfering. They still have the keys, especially these exotic cars that are controlled by remote. So, it is actually happening.”
Another clearing agent who simply gave his name as Leke said a Toyota Camry 2020 model that came into the country through Grande Cameroon had the complete sensor key stolen. He said he had complained and nothing had yet been done about it. “We are tired of the operation of Grimaldi on the issues of missing items. 70 per cent of vehicles in Grande Cameroon had all missing sensors. And on Grande Lagos, a lot of parts were also missing. The worst part is the importers failed to understand that it is not our fault. It is what the terminal delivers to us that we are going to deliver to them. We plead with the management of PTML terminals to beef up their security because we are losing importers on a daily basis.” Reacting, the General Manager of PTML, Mr Tunde Keshinro, urged the agents to come up with the details of the affected vehicles, adding that it would be difficult for him to respond to mere allegations.