Businessman Narrates Difficult Experience while Clearing his Goods at Nigeria’s Tin Can Island
A 2020 report by Lagos-based research firm, SBM Intelligence, showed how it is much more expensive to ship goods from the European Union to Nigeria, compared to what obtains in countries like Ghana and South Africa. According to the report, the characteristic high cost associated with Nigerian ports is as a result of exorbitant shipping fees, terminal fees and even bribes which importers are required to pay.
Businessman, Sam Hart, is most familiar with this experience. He recently took to Twitter to share his frustrating experience with his more than 40, 000 followers. See what he wrote below.
It is Difficult to Clear Goods at Tin Can Island
Clearing your container at Tin Can is the ghetto. Been to Lagos twice to expedite the process, chilled with erujeje-kwaffing & weed-puffing stragglers, negotiated with 3 different trailer drivers (they drop you for higher offers) & adapted to the situation to get things going.
So it takes weeks for flatbed trailers to get to the front of the queue. The closer the trailer is to the loading point, the higher the bargain. Like ticket sales at rush hour. Your driver you negotiated with last week can accept double what you offered & ditch your deal.
It’s of course an entire racket here. Some attempts have been made at computerisation and e-payment of fees but human element is still a massive factor and the entire process, in classic Nigerian fashion, is designed to frustrate you.
There is no semblance of order at the entrance/exit. No sense of urgency either. The entire place could be at a standstill for 2 days and you cannot identify why nobody is moving or why nobody seems to be urging people to move. Everything is languid.
The major entrance/exit road into the 2nd Gate is under construction and closed to traffic. The road construction follows the same languid pattern. The contractors don’t work everyday. They can arbitrarily close a lane & disappear for 2 weeks & all is well.
So you have one entrance and exit serving the busiest Seaport in the country. Maybe 10 Container get out in a day. 1,000 trailers are on the queue to get in. Nobody is directing trailers to keep it moving. There seems to be concerted effort to keep the system moving slowly.
I sense a mental conditioning going on. Those around here have accepted that things move slow. Nobody is expecting, or demanding for faster service. I got a few bemused looks when I sought to enquire why certain processes just couldn’t be expedited. Slow is the norm. Accept it.
My Container arrived Tin Can Port on January 21. Today is February 17. I’ve paid all I was billed as Duty but I face new bills everyday. For no fault of mine. But it’s the norm so I’m to chin up and pay. It is the way it is I’m told. Accept it.
I’m not talking about the cost of flying into Lagos twice in 2 weeks to ‘follow up’. Accommodation & miscellany. Opportunity cost. Mental cost. Ease of Doing Business. Lol. Surely, someone responsible for this is aware of what’s going on. Why does it persist?
I believe it was @DoubleEph who recently compared the mental development of someone in Asia whose growing neighbourhood has been transformed to skyscrapers to the one here who has never seen a new skyscraper rise in their lifetime. Your environment conditions your life outlook.
I observe that the people responsible for Port operations & working in & around the Port have been psychologically conditioned to a dysfunctional system. They have learnt to be comfortable with disfunction. Disorder. Inefficiency. They have adapted to it. Pathetic.
My default setting may not allow me to agree with @ayosogunro that Everything in Nigeria will kill you. But of a certainty, most things in Nigeria are designed to frustrate you & pummel you into accepting madness as the norm. Why are we weird? God safe us.
For those offering me back channels, surely, you know I have the contacts to bypass all of this. But how can we understand the problems we face if we find ways around it? How can we discuss solutions if we do not understand the problem? Perhaps it's the problem with our leaders.
— Sam Hart (@hartng) February 17, 2021
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