More facts have emerged on the cost implication of the cargo palletization policy introduced late last year by the Federal Government, as a representative of a leading container shipping line has disclosed that the policy would certainly lead to an increase in freight cost by as much as 40%.
Speaking via telephone from France last week, the shipping line representative, who did not want his name in print, said container carriers operating the Nigeria route from various parts of the world “are watching developments with regards to the new policy of the Nigerian government”.
“One thing I can tell you immediately is that it’ll certainly lead to a hike in freight rate. We also estimate a volume increase due to customers changing from 20ft to 40ft containers or shippers using more containers due to limited space in utilization of a container because of the pallets
This space could lead to an additional cost of about USD150 million (N46.5 billion) annually.
“In addition, we estimate a 40% increase in freight cost into Nigeria; this could reach the level of USD450 million (N139.5 billion).’’
At a Town Hall Meeting organized by leading maritime consulting firm, in Lagos, maritime sector stakeholders expressed concerns over the Federal Government’s policy on cargo palletization.
The stakeholders were also unanimous in their resolution that the controversial policy will increase the diversion of Nigeria-bound cargoes to the ports of neighboring countries where the policy is not implemented.
According to the communiqué issued at the end of the Town Hall Meeting, the maritime stakeholders also raised issues on the importation of strange organisms into the country through wooden pallets and the management of the pallet waste after use.
Speaking at the meeting, National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu said the palletization policy holds no benefit for the country and “will also further breed corruption” at the port.
“The policy will be difficult for shippers because we are an import dependent nation. Palletization will enhance corruption in the ports, as a good chunk of the internally generated revenue in the port goes into private pockets. Palletization should not be our priority, rather let us look at how we can improve services at the ports,” he said