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Clearing agents threaten to boycott CMA CGM over $400 surcharge

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Clearing agents under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has threatened to shun the CMA CGM, a shipping giant, if it proceed with the proposed congestion surcharge of $400 (about N144,000) per container in Lagos ports.

CMA CGM had unveiled plans to introduce a surcharge of about $400 on Lagos bound cargoes effective October 15th, 2018. The shipping line hinged its action on congestion in Lagos ports.

National Vice President, ANLCA, Kayode Farinto said: “It is an affront on the sensibility of the entire Nigerians to slam this illegitimate charges on all Nigerian bound cargoes,”

Describing the move as a breach of contract of affreightement which has been sealed before the cargo was shipped through the Shipping Line, he said that the “proposed congestion charges would be viewed as obtaining money under false pretense which is not only a criminal offence but negates the Federal Government Policy on Ease of Doing Business in Nigerian Ports”.

“We are issuing this global trade alert against CMA CGM Shipping Agency, hence we advice all Nigerian importers and Nigerians inDiaspora not to ship their cargoes through CMA CGM Shipping Agency. If they go ahead to implement this draconian policy called congestion surcharge,” he stated.

Also, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has threatened to sanction the shipping company over the unilateral imposition of $400 on shipments to Lagos ports, and any other international shipping line that may introduce arbitrary charges at ports.

CMA CGM had in an email sent to importers and clearing agents announced that effective October l5, 2OI8, cargoes from any part of the world on (EMA CGM ships will attract extra “USD 400 / EUR 850 per 20′ Dry and Reefer and USD 400 / EUR 350 per 40′ Dry and Reefer”.

The company explained: “Port congestion at Lagos ports, Nigeria, is currently increasing our operational costs and generating severe service disruption for several weeks. CMA CGM will therefore implement the following Emergency Congestion Surcharge on Lagos import cargo, effective October 15th, 2018 (B/ L date) for FMC trades.”

NPA, in a statement issued by the Acting General-Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications, Isa Suwaid, said the new charges cannot stand following the authority’s checks which revealed that some of the shipping companies have failed to fully comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays as they have either failed to utilise their holding bays at all or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with.

NPA noted that some of the companies had also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.

“These conducts have contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Port, spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis where truck drivers with no immediate business at the ports now park their trucks,” he said, adding that NPA will henceforth embark on a regular compliance check of the operations of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators and defaulters will be sanctioned.


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