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Importers tackle shipping lines over $400 surcharge



Importers tackle shipping lines over $400 surcharge

The Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS) has warned that it would resist any attempt by the CMA CGM or any other foreign shipping lines to impose additional $400 ‘congestion surcharge’ on containers, saying that the Nigerian business community would not be made to pay for shipping companies’ inadequacies.


The SALS President, Rev. Jonathan Nicol said this in Lagos recently. It added that SALS viewed this new charge as arbitrary, unfair and indeed, lacking economic sense, since the congestion mentioned was not caused by importers and shippers, but was due to the failure of the shipping companies to provide holding bays for their empty containers.


“We have read from online reports that Messrs CGM CMA has introduced $400 dollars for congestion fee per consignment in addition to all other charges now in contest. The empty containers are the property of the Shipping Lines which normally collect container deposits for their boxes in transit. On prompt return of the empty containers, the importer can claim back his deposit. It is a known fact that empty containers do not have access to the ports with ease as before.”


He wondered how the trucks manage to get into the ports to pick consignments while the one going into the port to drop them empty containers have problems accessing the port.

He also queried the rational behind the move to make the importer pay additional fee to offload the property of the shipping company in their premises again when all charges have been paid in advance.


“Who pays for the inconveniences of millions of Nigerians in various locations where empty containers and trucks have damaged their normal human lifestyle?


“The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Trade owes Nigerians explanations why container business is reducing the life span of their citizens and they remain silent”, Nicol said.


He pointed out that the menace of empty containers on trucks on the Nigerian highways and suburbs should actually be seen as not only a nuisance, but a terrible security risk which requires serious attention of the Port economic regulator, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the Nigerian Ports Authority.


“Congestion fee should be passed on to the Shipping Lines and their subsidiaries, the Terminal Operators who receives the empty containers on behalf of their clients -the shipping companies, while awaiting export of the empty boxes.


“It is believed that at least a thousand empty containers should be exported daily since over 800 full loaded containers are delivered to various consignees daily. Shippers’ Association of Lagos State is worried and do not want to press charges on all the Port regulators,” he further said.

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