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Council orders shipping firms to waive demurrage on cargoes

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Container ship. Photo: MARINEINSIGHT

Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has directed shipping companies to suspend demurrage on cargoes during the COVID-19 lockdown with effect from March 30.

The Deputy Director, Public Relations, Rakiya Zubairu, stated yesterday that the directive was necessary because some shippers would be unable to take delivery of their cargoes due to circumstances beyond their control during the lockdown period.

She said: “In line with the presidential directive that port operations are essential services, the NSC has been monitoring activities to ensure that seaports run efficiently and smoothly within the present circumstances, and in compliance with the existing health and safety guidelines for the prevention and containment of the spread of COVID-19.

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“During the daily monitoring exercise, it was observed that some shippers, through no fault of theirs, are unable to take delivery of their cargo because of lack of public transportation, inadequate banking services and limited service providers due to reduced workforce, among others.”

The NSC, therefore, directed shipping companies to suspend demurrage during the lockdown.

“This strictly applies to cargo that was discharged at the terminals from March 30, 2020,” she added.

To this end, NSC said demurrage during this period should be refunded to the consignee or their authorised agent.

“Suspension of demurrage during this period is an incentive for owners of cargo to accelerate the process of taking delivery of their cargo.

“This suspension of demurrage is not an excuse to delay or abandon cargo at the ports. Errand shippers will be sanctioned in addition to having to pay the demurrage due on their cargoes,” she stated.

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