Freight forwarders under the auspices of the National Association of Government-Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have raised fresh concerns over the rising amount of demurrage being paid on imports by cargo owners following the delays in clearing goods from the ports.
Ibrahim Tanko, national coordinator of the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, who made the concern known to journalists in Lagos last week on behalf of the members of the Association, said there are new unknown persons tagged as ‘informants’ at the port whose responsibilities are to pass information to government agencies.
According to Tanko, the activities of these informants end up resulting in unnecessary cargo detention at the port and double examination of cargoes, which leads to demurrage payment by the importer of the cargo.
He said the informants work with the Port Security Office, and they pass wrong information to government agencies after which affected containers are usually brought back for re-examination in order for the agency to confirm the report received.
Citing an example, Tanko said the informant will take the number of a container through the Port Security Office and send it to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service. The FOU will then order the container to be brought back for re-examination. After the container has been reexamined and nothing found, the FOU will now contact Abuja for directives and this process takes time, leading to piling up of demurrage.
While pointing out that many importers have fallen victim to such activities, Tanko said that the Compliance Team will do everything possible to unravel those who are behind such activities that are unfriendly to trade facilitation.