Freight forwarders demand 14-day demurrage waiver for containers
As resolution meeting with shipping companies end in deadlock
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has demanded a 14-day demurrage waiver for containers from shipping companies starting from the date of exit from the ports.
The freight forwarding association made the demand after the failed meeting among stakeholders to address the impasse between shipping companies and freight forwarders over container deposit refunds, illegal extortions, among other issues.
The closed-door meeting had in attendance, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Council for the Regulating of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) and representatives of shipping companies.
The National Coordinator of NAGAFF 100 per cent Compliance Team, Ibrahim Tanko, who addressed journalists after the meeting, said the freight forwarders disagreed with the six days waiver stated by the shipping companies, in which he said they were not specific on when the waiver would start counting.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the failure of the meeting to arrive at the desired expectations, disclosing that the body language of the representatives of the shipping companies was not too good and showed no commitment.
Tanko said the freight forwarders are losing about N10 million, adding: “On the container deposit issue, we lose a lot of money, N200,000 on 40ft container and N100,000 on 20ft container, and after losing this money, the shipping companies also debit us and they still receive their empty containers back.
“We are saying no to this. Our request is that the shipping companies should give us an extra 14 days from the day the container leaves the port till it is brought back, if we pass 14 days, then they can now charge us. This is our proposal and they said no to that.”
Tanko further said he was shocked when the NPA representative said the authority issued shipping companies license for holding bays, whereas the shipping companies do not have holding bays, while the few on ground are inadequate to contain the number of empty containers.
“We believe holding bays are supposed to come from shipping companies and that is what the law says. Anybody that is running a shipping company must have a holding bay, but we do not know what is going on now,” he said.
On the issue of withdrawal of service, Tanko said it is still pending as there is no concrete agreement reached, noting that the position of the freight forwarders still stands and would withdraw their services on November 18 if nothing is done.
Tanko noted that the five accredited freight forwarding associations in the industry had agreed to work together to fight its cause and achieve desired result, adding that shipping companies and other stakeholders are taking advantage of their disunity to frustrate ease of doing business at the ports.