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Due to COVID-19

Nigerian food exporters hampered by clogged ports

The port backups that have paralyzed food shipments around the world for weeks aren’t getting much better. In fact, in some places, they’re getting worse.

For Nigerian ports, the problem is too many containers, which are piling up and clogging the ports. Workers who would normally be clearing the congestion are facing difficulties coming in as the nation’s lockdown shut public transportation. Banks near the ports are closing, making it harder to process receipts and clearing documents.

With food stuck in containers floating at the docks, it’s exacerbating shortages and driving up prices.

“The ports are jam-packed,” Tony Nwabunike, president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, the union that represents workers who clear the ports told naija247news.com.

“The main reason is that there is no movement now. Even those of us that have been given orders to go to the ports as essential service providers, we are not accessing the ports because transportation remain skeletal,” and not all workers have the necessary paperwork to show they are essential employees, he said. “Police are on the road, so people are scared. There is harassment everywhere.”

Even as some of these issues start to ease, there’s also concern over the possibility of port workers getting sick. Employees in close proximity will have to be quarantined if they are exposed, and there’s the threat of contagion.

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