The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has banned service providers including shipping companies/agencies, terminal operators and off-dock terminals from collecting charges from consignees for cargo transfers that were not initiated by the shipper.
According to a statement by Rakiya Zubairu, head, Public Relations, the Council has been inundated with complaints against service providers on the arbitrary levy of container demurrage, storage and transfer charges on consignees, for transportation of cargoes to off-dock terminals unilaterally initiated by terminals without the consignees’ consent.
“It should be noted that based on international standard and recognised practice, freight paid at origin covers movement of cargo to final port of delivery at destination. It follows therefore, that cargoes earmarked for transfer to off-dock terminals, at the request of the shipping company, seaport terminal operator or off-dock terminal, without the consent of the consignees or their authorised representatives, should not attract charge against the consignees,” Zubairu said.
According to her, the Council considers such as unethical and unwholesome, and has resolved that all service providers must deliver import cargoes to the nominated port of destination as stated in the Bill of Lading.
“Where the operational convenience of the seaport terminals or some other prevailing circumstances necessitated the transfer of cargoes from the seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, the concerned consignees or their authorised agents must be notified in good time, and must not be charged the cost associated with such transfer, including barging cost,” she added.
Continuing, Zubairu stated that storage and demurrage charges on cargoes earmarked for transfer from seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, without the consent of the consignee, should take effect only after arriving at the designated off-dock terminals.
Zubairu however directed that all transfer charges collected from consignees of cargoes transferred from seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, from 1st June 2020 to date, without the consignees requesting for such transfer, must be refunded immediately.
“Failure to refund such charges will lead to the Council invoking its regulatory powers to enforce compliance,” she further stated.