After much pressure by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC)Maersk Line has instructed its commercial department to stop applying the peak season surcharge from 1st September 2020. The move was in response to protests by the council which recently convened a meeting of the Organized Private Sector (OPS) to deliberate on the astronomical peak season surcharge imposed by shipping lines calling in Nigeria.
In a statement signed on Monday by the council’s Head of Public Relations, Rakiya Zubairu, the Union of African Shippers’ Council (UASC) had subsequently backed NSC calls for immediate suspension of the peak season surcharge. According to her, the surcharge was a violation of previous UASC/European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) agreement requiring prior, mutual and reasonable notification of UASC and PMAWCA by individual shipping companies before any such imposition of new tariff, surcharges or increase in transport cost.
Zubairu said: “A letter signed by Lara Lana, MD of MAERSK Nigeria and addressed to the ES/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, stated that “our principals in our Head Office have informed us of your letter with subject reference increase in peak season surcharge.” She stated that the shipping line had thanked the council boss for the supporting document he shared shedding light on the meeting between the ECSA and UASC.” It would be recalled that the council had in an August 16, 2020 in a letter addressed to the ECSA and copied to the UASC among others, complained about the outrageous increase in surcharges levied on Nigeria bound cargo. The letter, signed by the UASC’s Secretary-General Ogoula Giscard Lilian, strongly condemned the “unilateral and offensive action by ECSA carriers in blatant disrespect of previous agreement and expectations.” It stated that the action had destabilised the business operations of its members “through the increasing of transport costs and weakening of the economies of Nigeria and other UASC member- states, especially during this outbreak of corona virus pandemic which has kept commercial activity at its lowest ebb in terms of activity and prosperity.”