Nigeria Partial Lockdown – Shipping Services FAQ

As at 1st April 2020 – below stated answers have been influx, and are subject to change

Q. What is the timeline for lockdown? Will there be a possible extension?
A: The lockdown has taken effect from 23:00 on Monday, 30 March 2020, and will be in place for an initial 14 days’ period. The lockdown applies only to certain regions of Nigeria – 1) Lagos state, 2) adjoining state- Ogun State and 3) Capital city, Abuja. An announcement will be made whether there will be extended lockdown period, and whether geographically the lockdown will be expanded as well.

Q: Will the partial lockdown in Nigeria affect port operations, specifically cargo discharge and loading?
A: NPA has recently put in place a policy of not permitting berthing of ships, unless they have spent a minimum of 14 days at sea. The industry is urgently lobbying for a reversal of this policy. Otherwise, the ports in Nigeria are currently operational on a 24/7 basis for vessel operations – load & discharge.

Q: How about cargo clearance?
A: Apapa & Tincan ports – Current movement restrictions seem to suggest only port personnel and Shipping Company staff are essential and have permission to be active and have access to the ports. However, as of yet it is not clear whether the Clearing Agents have the same freedoms, which is expected to be a significant bottleneck to cargo release, until this is addressed. Onne port & clearance remains operations as usual.

Q: Will the lockdown lead to a possible yard congestion at Lagos ports?
A: With the abovementioned limitations on key stakeholder movements in ports, it will likely be slower than normal to release and clear cargo which will inevitably place additional stress on Lagos’ already congested ports. Furthermore, banks are not open to the public now; a development which may further hamper cargo clearance, and exacerbate congestion. However, all stakeholders are actively doing their best to coordinate where possible to identify and mitigate such bottlenecks, to facilitate cargo release and alleviate congestion pressures. We do not anticipate problematic congestion at Onne port container yards, as things stand.

Q: Are Shipping lines open for business?
A: Shipping line offices open for business during this period from 09:00 to 16:00hrs Monday to Friday.

Q: Are all types of cargo allowed to be cleared during this period.
A: Yes.

Q: Will Demurrage & Detention be waived during this period?
A: Demurrage/Detention is still applicable.

Q: Are courier services operating? If not, how do clients who do not have their bills of lading clear cargo? A: There is likely a hindrance in mobility and access of courier’s personnel throughout the country, and we’d recommend that our Customers look at alternative options to sending the Original Bill of Lading from Port of Loading. Options available include telex release, seaway bill and printing of Original Bill of Lading at Port of Discharge to facilitate release of cargo.