Agents, PTML disagree over N10,000 Access Card scheme

Mr Ascanio Russo

Freight forwarding agents operating at the Ports & Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML) operated by multinational logistic group, Grimaldi Shipping Line, has accused the terminal operator of extorting N10,000 from agents wishing to gain access into the facility for business purposes.

This is even as the terminal operator has labelled such accusations untrue, claiming the N10,000 fee was imposed to regularise entry into the port facility.

Speaking with Nigerian Tribune exclusively, a cross section of the agents from the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA); National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Association of Registered Freight Forwarders (AREFFN), explained that in recent time, agents wishing to enter the Grimaldi/PTML Terminal now pay N10,000 to obtain Access Cards before such an agent will be allowed to enter into the terminal.

According to them, “Grimaldi/PTML has devised what they call Access Cards. This Access Cards, which is obtained after payment of N10,000, guarantees entry into the terminal. Without the Access Card, no agent can go into the terminal to conduct business transactions.

“This is extortion. Why has the terminal operator come up with this when the economy is in recession? The facility was given to them on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), why are they subjecting Nigerians to pay before they can enter the facility?

“This is a facility where business transactions takes place. If we don’t have a consignment to clear, we won’t seek to go in there. Anytime we have consignments to clear, we pay all statutory dues to the Customs and the terminal operator. This new fee is another way of extorting Nigerians in their own country.”

When contacted, the Managing Director of Grimaldi/PTML, Mr Ascanio Russo, stated that the N10, 000 Access Card scheme was introduced to regularise entry into the terminal.

“The Access Card scheme is part of the new regularisation process at the Grimaldi/PTML facility. And it is not that we are imposing N10,000 on agents wishing to gain entry into the facility, the amount is just the cost of the card.

“The Access Cards are smart card, so the N10,000 is just the amount for the cost of the card, not an extortion agenda as claimed by some agents.

“The scheme was introduced to ensure we know the addresses of the companies the agents who come into our terminals work with. We need to know the owners of these companies and it is in the interest of everybody that we have started this initiative.

“The idea is to verify the identity of who comes into our facility. We needed to bring this up due to our environment which has become very prone to scam and fraudulent abuse.

“So we need to ensure reputable people come into our facility to transact business because we don’t want to be seen dealing with fraudulent people.”