Thursday, May 30Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine

Shippers’ Council Summon Shipping Companies Over New Charges

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Thursday held a meeting with the shipping companies over some shipping charges introduced on 20ft and 40ft containers at the ports.

A source who was at the meeting said the Council expressed anger over the new charges and told the shipping companies to suspend the collection. The strong position of the ports economic regulator, it was gathered, was that the charges were introduced without notification to the Council as required by law.

The source said the Council insisted that such increase has to be negotiated by all the parties involved and a decision reached before the charges can be effective. Under 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.

The representatives of the shipping companies who attended the meeting Thursday were said to have told the Council that they will report the outcome of the meeting to their chief executive officers. It was gathered that the shipping companies may any moment from next week present a formal request to the Council for increase of such charges for negotiation.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) also few months ago increased its port charges.
The shipping companies were said to have reacted to this and also introduced the new charges on containers.
But a source said the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who was reported to be unhappy about this development has intervened over the matter.

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 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 had also written a letter to the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Usman on the issue drawing her attention to the statutory requirement for negotiation before such new charges could be introduced.

The letter had requested the management of the NPA to suspend the implementation until it is negotiated as required by law. Importers and their agents had described the increase from shipping companies as outrageous and one that will lead to high cost of doing business at the ports.

Culled from