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Shipping Charges: Shippers’ Council Floors Terminal Operators, as Court Strikes Out Case

Executive Secretary NSC, Hassan Bello
 The Nigerian
Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Monday won the second round of the case
on shipping charges as the Federal High Court in Lagos struck out
the case brought against it by the Seaports Terminal Operators
Association of Nigeria (STOAN).

The terminal
operators had last week Monday  gone to court to stop the Council
from  reversing  the Progressive Storage Charge they had introduced
unilaterally some years ago to the pre-May 2009 rates which were approved
by the Transport Ministry.
The case which came
up Monday was struck out against the terminal operators
for non-compliance with the rules of the court.
The Presiding
Judge, Ibrahim Buba, said   that the parties which came by way of
originating summons did not tell the court the issues   for
“Since the court
cannot proceed without knowing the right and interest of the parties which are
inextricably tied to the question of determination, the court cannot proceed on
that,” Buba said.
Lawyer to the NSC,
  Mrs Funke Agbor, had   argued that the court could not
proceed with the case since the issues for determination had not been
It would be
recalled   that the Council had last week reversed
   the storage charge. It also introduced other
measures   that will   reduce cost of doing business in
Nigerian ports.
 The Council
  had also increased the Container Free Storage Period to seven
days instead of three days.
The Council also
  increased Container Demurrage-free days to 10 days.
The regulator had equally
directed that henceforth, container deposits must be   refunded
within 10 days after the empties had been returned to the shipping
 But the
affected   terminal operators and shipping companies had
   gone to Court to restrain the Council from implementing
the order which was expected to take effect last week Monday.
However, the case
brought by the Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) against the Ports
Regulator   adjourned to Nov. 17 for further hearing.
Source: Shipping Day.

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