Forex Crisis Hits Nigerian Ports As Operators Lament 2.39% Drop in Container Import

Forex Crisis Hits Nigerian Ports, Operators Lament 2.39% Drop in Container Import

3 weeks ago
1 min read

Licensed Customs Agents Blame Forex Crisis for Decline

The forex crisis has caused a 2.39% drop in container throughput at Nigerian ports in Q1 2024, according to licensed customs agents.

Nigerian Ports Authority Reports Decline

Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) revealed a 2.39% decrease in container throughput for 20-foot equipment units (TEUs) in the first quarter of 2024. The total container throughput for Q1 2024 was 396,083, down from 405,811 in the same period last year.

In comparison, the NPA noted that export containers for Q1 2023 totalled 150,926, while 254,884 laden containers were received in the country during the same period. In Q1 2024, there were 112,801 empty containers recorded, and 283,281 loaded containers were processed.

Cargo Throughput Sees an Increase

Despite the drop in container throughput, cargo throughput was higher in Q1 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. “In 2024, we recorded 20,105,390 as cargo throughput, while in 2023, we recorded 17,476,212,” the NPA reported.

Importers Blame Forex Crisis

This report was in a document obtained by The Punch. The Importers Association of Nigeria blamed the forex crisis for the decline in container throughput, stating that the country was losing over $500 million annually due to inconsistent exchange rates.

Dr. Basil Nwaolisa, National Coordinator of Customs, Shipping, and Terminal Operations of the association, expressed concerns over the rising cost of clearing consignments.

READ ALSO: Forex Crisis Costs Nigeria Over $500m Annually, Importers Warn

“The country is losing more than $500 million annually. A year ago, clearing a cargo might cost N5 million, but now the same consignment costs N20 million or more. This is a big problem. If an importer’s worth is about N15 million, can they import a container now? Demurrage is a significant issue at N60,000 per container per month,” Nwaolisa said.

Impact on Importers and Market Availability

The forex crisis has placed a significant burden on importers, with 60% of members ceasing importation. Dr. Nwaolisa emphasised, “The forex issues are a major burden on importers. Many have stopped importing due to the fluctuating naira.”

Mr. Lucky Amiwero, National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, noted the impact on market availability. “The forex issue has affected buyers. When you go to the market now, you will find many items that are no longer available. Importers have stopped importing due to the fluctuating naira,” Amiwero said.

Economic Impact

Amiwero highlighted the economic consequences of the forex crisis. “Previously, $500,000 could secure several containers, but that amount no longer holds the same value. Many people have left the industry for menial jobs due to the inconsistent exchange rate,” he added.

The situation has created uncertainty in the importation industry, affecting both the availability of goods in the market and the livelihoods of those in the import business.

Importers and customs agents are calling for government intervention to stabilize the forex rates and support the import sector.

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Emmanuel Ochayi is a journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nations pride. Emmanuel is keen on exploring writing angles in different areas, including Business, climate change, politics, Education, and others.

Emmanuel Ochayi is a journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nations pride. Emmanuel is keen on exploring writing angles in different areas, including Business, climate change, politics, Education, and others.

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