Arbitrary charges: NPA threaten sanction against shipping lines

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Matthew Otoijagha

The management of Nigerian Ports Authority (‘NPA) has vowed to sanction CMA CGM and any other international shipping line that may introduce arbitrary charges at ports.

Importers and officials of NPA, condemned the $400 congestion surcharge the CMA CGM international shipping line slammed on every container coming to the two ports of Lagos.

In an email sent to importers and clearing agents at the weekend, the shipping company announced that effective October l5, 2OI8, cargoes from any part of the world on (EMA CGM ships will attract extra “USU 400 / EUR 850 per 20′ Dry and Reefer and USD 400 / EUR 350 per 40′ Dry and Reefer”.

The shipping line based its action on what it called disruption of its activities based on congestion in the two Lagos ports. In the mail, the company explained that: “port congestion at Lagos ports, Nigeria, is currently increasing our operational costs and generating severe service disruption for several weeks.”

The mail added that: “CMA CGM will therefore implement the following Emergency Congestion Surcharge on Lagos import cargo, effective October 15th, 2018 (B/ L date) for FMC trades. The company also indicates that the surcharge is payable on categories of cargoes including dry and break bulk.

But the Acting General-Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications of ‘NPA, Mr. Isa Suwaid said the new charges cannot stand following the authority’s checks, which revealed that some of the shipping companies have failed to fully comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays; as they have either failed to utilize their holding bays at all,  or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with.

The NPA noted that some of the companies had also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.

“These conducts have contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Port, spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis where truck drivers with no immediate business at the ports now park their trucks. Shippers Council to save them from the Shylock shipping companies operating at the nation’s seaports.

“The authority will review the level of compliance to its directives and determine further actions in addition to this, the NPA will henceforth embark on a regular compliance check of the operations of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators and defaulters will be sanctioned.

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