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NAGAFF threatens boycott of Shipping Coys demanding congestion surcharges

Members of the National Association of Government Approved
Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), have said they are battle-ready for all
multinational shipping lines who have issued notices to introduce congestion
surcharges of $400 and $425 per container at the nation’s ports.

President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche, Wednesday while condemning the
action of the two shipping companies, CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping
Company said members had been put on alert to shun the Bill of Lading of the
multinational shipping companies involved should they insist on collecting
ports congestion surcharges.
“We shall put a caveat on the Bill of Lading of any shipping
company collecting congestion surcharge. We will ask our members not to accept
Bill of Lading in respect of the two shipping companies”, he told SHIPPING DAY.
CMA CGM had given a notice to collect $400 per container while
Mediterranean Shipping Company which covers goods from Asia said it will be
collecting $425 per container as congestion surcharges with effect from October
15 and 18 respectively.
The reason given by the shipping companies was to cover for the
congestion and delay being suffered at the ports.
But Uche said the plan of the shipping companies was simply to
provoke the government and indeed the Nigerian shippers and see what they can
He said that it was a challenge for the federal government to
take up the issue and stop them from enforcing the planned surcharge.
Describing the congestion surcharge as laughable, Uche said the shipping
companies have been taking Nigeria for granted by acting with impunity.
He argued that there is no part of the world that a shipping
line will just wake up and slam shippers with surcharge.
Uche said the current action of the shipping companies was among
the reasons why freight forwarders have been in the forefront to call for
inclusion in the Committee that is reviewing the port congestion agreement.
He opined that it was important to know the details of the
agreement reached between ports service providers and the NPA to be able to
challenge anything that is illegal by any of the parties.
The NAGAFF President commended the Nigerian Shippers Council
(NSC) for acting on time by describing the congestion surcharges as illegal.
He said that left alone, the shipping lines was ready to impose
all types of charges against shippers.
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello had in a chat granted one of the
national dailies described the container surcharge as illegal.
Bello was quoted saying, “There is no such charge. There is
nothing like that and if there is an intention to do that, it is null and void.
Until they have negotiated with the Nigerian Shippers Council and until
Nigerian Shippers Council gives them the go ahead it will be illegal.”
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had also condemned CMA CGM,
over the ports congestion surcharge.
The authority said it will sanction, CMA CGM as well as any other shipping line
that will be collecting such surcharge from shippers.
The shipping line had few days ago said it will from October 15 begin to
collect a $400 congestion surcharge for containers coming to Tin Can Island and
Apapa from any part of the world.
The shipping line explained that this was as a result of increased congestion
in Lagos ports which has in turn raised its operating costs as well as causing
severe service disruption for several weeks.
The statement had read, “CMA CGM will therefore implement the
following Emergency Congestion Surcharge on Lagos import cargo, effective
October 15th, 2018 (B/ L date) for FMC trades.”
How, reacting to the statement from the shipping line, the
Acting General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Mr Isa Suwaid
said the NPA will not accept such surcharges.
Suwaid explained that this was because the shipping line and
some others have not complied with the directive from the NPA to provide
holding bays to be able to handle any volume of containers.
Suwaid argued that failure to provide holding bays by some
shipping lines was responsible for the increased congestion in the Lagos ports.
He said that the NPA would review the level of compliance by the
shipping companies in the area of provision of holding bays by sending its
officials for regular checks on the shipping companies.
According to him, any shipping company or terminal operators
that failed to comply would be sanctioned.

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