Main Article Content
This study analyzes the relationship between nature of business and delays in container clearance process. It also examines major causes of delay in each of the identified seven stages of the cargo clearance process in Apapa and Tin Can Ports, Lagos, Nigeria. The identified stages include: e-Form M processing; Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) processing; assessment of Duty; payment of Duty; Examination; Customs release and Delivery. The study’s population consists of 43 publicly quoted manufacturing companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and which regularly import containers through Lagos Seaports. Structured questionnaires were administered to the 41 firms selected, but only 23 were actually filled and returned. This number represents 56 percent of the sample size. Analysis of data was done with the aid of SPSS. The results show that major causes of delay include incomplete and poor documentation problem with a share of 68.4%, 88.2% and 37.5% for e-form M, PAAR and Assessment of Duty stages respectively. Other causes of delays include: network or server problems which account for 53.8% (Payment of Duty); delays related to physical examination of containers which covers 29.4% (Examination); network and valuation problems which stand at 30% (Customs Release). Port congestion and port logistics problems also constitute problems which account for 44.4% and 33.3% respectively (Delivery). This paper recommends that importers and exporters should use highly trained staff or outsource documentation to professional brokers to avoid delays resulting from incomplete or inaccurate documentation.