Shippers worry over falling standards of ports operations
Importers and exporters under the aegis of Shippers Association of Lagos State have lamented the continuous falling standards of port operations in Nigeria.
President of the association, Jonathan Nicol, in a chat with The Guardian, said the extortions were overwhelming the shippers, hence the plan to send an intervention team into the ports to protect its members.
He said: “The 100 per cent compliance team of freight forwarders associations should focus their compliance campaign on the unbridled actions of the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in double handling of customs assessments of cargos.
“In fact, importers and shippers are the groups of people targeted by the Federal Government agencies for punishment. There is no consignment cleared in all the ports without parting with some sorts of under table payment. Industries are no exception. Warehouses are being shut for no just cause.
“Duty of five per cent on raw materials run into 15 to 20 per cent during clearing processes as a result of overreaching of the valuation officers queries. They raise a Demand Notice and force you to accept it for additional payment of duty without contesting such, ” he lamented.
Nicol said: “The Shippers Association is very concerned now and we are mobilising to send an intervention team into the ports to protect our members. We do not want any of the importers or shippers to be a target by an illegal compliant team when the port economic regulators are still in existence,”
He enjoined all freight forwarders to team up with the intervention team to checkmate excesses of government agencies, while applauding the disbanding of the Presidential Task Force.
He urged all freight forwarding associations to join the shippers to collaborate and solve the port problems, calling for support of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Council of Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
He also bemoaned the slamming of Peak Period Surcharge Nigerian-bound cargoes by the shipping companies, appealing to CMA CGM to jettison the new unexpected fee on cargoes.
He said: “Shippers who have the inflated Peak Season Surcharge should please send their Bill of Lading to us. Shippers Association Lagos State will continue to seek resolutions to port-related issues with service providers through dialogues,”
On the stranded export cargoes at the ports, he said: “Our export cargo is being snubbed and this is not good, especially at this time of the second wave of the pandemic.”