The recent decision by the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to increase its port charges may not have gone down well with the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. A source close to the Ministry of Transport told SHIPPING DAY that the Ministry is particularly concerned that the increase has led to a similar increase on port charges by some shipping companies.
It was gathered that the Minister was informed by officials that the increase was done by NPA without notifying the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as the Ports Economic Regulator. Our source said that the Council had drawn the attention of the Ministry to the decision of the NPA, expressing worry that the review had prompted some shipping companies to also raise their tariff. According to the source, the Council was said to have complained that it has been inundated with series of complaints by importers and customs agents who have expressed dismay over the increase of shipping charges on containers by shipping companies. The shipping companies were said to have referred to the increase by the NPA as the reason for also raising their charges.
In the new charges by the shipping companies, a 20ft container now attracts a new charge of N40,000 while 40ft container will have to pay N80,000. Importers and their agents have described the increase as outrageous and one that will lead to high cost of doing business at the ports. It was gathered that the NSC had while kicking against the increase sought the intervention of the Minister on the issue few weeks ago. The source said the Ministry of Transport had called for a meeting of the two agencies to discuss the issue which could not hold as planned.
Our source disclosed that another meeting is being planned between the two agencies in Abuja during which the NPA will be directed to withdraw the new charges .
Ministry officials said the authority will be referred to the Shippers’ Council as the Ports Economic Regulator for negotiation and agreement with the Council as required by the relevant sections of the NSC Act. Our source said the Ministry is however handling the matter with some level of care in order to avoid friction between the two agencies of government. Our source added that it is likely that the new shipping charges on containers will also have to be suspended until the matter is discussed with the Council.
Culled from shipping-day.com