Economy and Business

Nigerians struggle to shop for Christmas as rising diesel prices drive up haulage costs, squeeze shoppers’ budgets

As the festive season approaches, shoppers are already facing challenges purchasing goods due to the escalating cost of container haulage, driven by soaring diesel prices.

Business Day reports that importers moving laden containers from Apapa seaports to warehouses nationwide are grappling with a doubling in the cost of transporting goods, ultimately impacting end-users.

The surge in diesel prices to N1,300/litre has hit truckers hard, leading to a staggering 100% increase in container transport expenses.

Moving a 40-foot container from Lagos port to Mushin, which previously cost N400,000, now demands an exorbitant N800,000.

Similarly, transporting a 20-foot container from Apapa to Lagos warehouses has spiked from N200,000 to between N350,000 and N400,000. Trucking costs to other regions have also surged dramatically.

Transporting a 40-foot container from Lagos to the East, specifically Onitsha or Nnewi, commands an eye-watering N1.8 million, while a 20-foot container demands N800,000.

Routes to Abuja, Kano, and Northern warehouses incur similarly escalated expenses, reaching as high as N2.4 million for a 40-foot container to Kano and N1.6 million to Abuja.

A truck operator, Bello Yusuf, lamented the escalating fuel costs, stressing that trips now require careful calculations to ensure expenses cover fuel expenditures.

“The soaring price of diesel is affecting our business and it is no longer easy for one to embark on a trip without making sure that the payment will cover the money spent on fueling the truck,” said Yusuf.

Moreover, the burden of inflated spare part prices, with Chinese tyres selling at N170,000 to N180,000 each and imported used tyres (Tokunbo) priced at N100,000 to N110,000, adds to the financial strain on truckers.

Tony Anakebe, a Lagos Customs Licensed Agent, highlighted the disproportionate cost variances across routes, attributing the higher expenses to heightened demand on specific paths.

He emphasized the significant cost disparities between the Lagos-Eastern routes compared to the Lagos-Abuja route.

“I didn’t know that Nigeria has spoiled this much until I wanted to load this night. We loaded a 40-foot container to Abuja for N1.6 million but the same container is paying N2.4 million to Kano and N1.8 million to the East. This is because demand is high on the Lagos-Eastern route compared to Lagos-Abuja,” Anakebe said.

Truck operators also cited additional challenges, such as extortion by security agencies along port corridors and numerous checkpoints across Nigerian highways, further eating into their profits and complicating their business operations.

The collective toll of surging fuel prices and various operational challenges within the haulage business is now translating into increased costs for moving goods, potentially straining shoppers’ budgets during the festive season.

As shoppers prepare for Christmas, the considerable hike in transportation costs, driven by the surging price of diesel, poses significant challenges, potentially impacting affordability and accessibility to goods during this festive period.

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One Comment

  1. I think all this are the challenges in democracy. Remember, the government is of the people by the people and also for the people. Therefore, it makes government to be sensitive to so many issues. Gradually we will get it right when we acknowledge the value of humanity.

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