The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Tuesday announced the suspension of the $400 surcharge earlier imposed by some shipping companies on cargoes berthing at Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports.
The Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr Hassan Bello, said that the decision to suspend the penalty was taken after a closed door meeting with stakeholders in Lagos.
He explained: “We had a meeting yesterday with the shipping companies that introduced the charges. We are still meeting again but what we said was that whether they are surcharges or local charges, it must be cleared with the council.
“The procedure was not followed, so the shipping companies will go back to their principal to convey the outcome to the carriers. They cannot just charge arbitrarily, first of all NSC opposed the charges especially because of the economy; secondly, the procedure is wrong, you can’t just slam charges without telling us.
“So we told them to suspend or stop the charges and consult their principal before the next meeting,’’ Bello added.
According to him, another meeting would be held to finalise the discussions on the issue.
It would be recalled CMA CGM, a foreign shipping company, had a few days ago told importers and clearing agents that from Oct. 15 cargoes from any part of the world on EMA CGM ships would attract extra “USD 400 / EUR 850 per 20′ Dry and Reefer and USD 400 / EUR 350 per 40′ Dry and Reefer.
It attributed the surge on disruption of its activities due to the congestion in the two Lagos ports.
However, the clearing agents immediately reacted to the unilateral levy, describing it as illegal and calls on the port regulatory authorities to disallow its collection.