• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Shippers Council rallies private sector to protest imposition of surcharge on Nigerian-bound cargoes

Shippers Council to expose Aba shoemakers, tailors to exports procedures

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has solicited the support of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) groups to protest the planned imposition of new Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) on Nigerian-bound cargoes by international shipping lines.

Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday during a meeting with members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), Hassan Bello, executive secretary of NSC, said the Council has written a protest letter to the international shipping liners, demanding the withdrawal of the proposed $1025 surcharge on 20-foot and 40-foot containers or embrace negotiation.

According to him, the council has also written to the Minister of Transportation and urged him to discuss this issue with both the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We want Nigerian government to lead the protest. We have also written to the Union of African Shippers Association. They were as shocked as we were and we are sure that the union has started work on it. The European Shippers Council has also been notified. We found out that it is not only Nigeria, but China has also made protest against this unjustified charge, and if we all come together, we will be able to achieve our aim,” Bello said.

Bello, who stated that Nigeria is not adverse to changes in pricing, said that international shipping liners used to impose PSS in the tune of $150 to $200 per container.

He said that the charges were not negotiated with Nigerian government before imposition, which is one of the principles of fair international trade.

“The new surcharge, which as much as $1,400 is a spike, and it has the ability to cripple a fragile economy like Nigeria. It is not transparent, not negotiated when Nigerian port is already one of the costliest ports in the world. This means that the economy would be hugely affected when the country is still grappling with the effects of Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

He however stated that the new surcharge if allowed would have inflationary effect on the economy; and cargoes may not be cleared from the port because shippers would not be able to afford the added cost. “It will mean job losses, drop in government revenue, chaos and congestion in the port, and many companies may be out of business.”

Responding, Margret Orakwusi, representative of the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), pledged to support the Council in its effort to protest the surcharge.

She said the NACCIMA would also write a protest letter to the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) because many of their members borrowed money from banks, and repayment of such loans would be affected by this additional cost.

Yusuf Muda, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who noted that the last thing Nigeria business climate needs is added cost, said that it is the ordinary Nigerians that would bear the cost through skyrocketing prices of goods in the market.

While giving the LCCI support to the Council, he stated that Nigeria needs to progress in the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business policy at the port, which also has cost implication on shippers.

Shippers represented in the meeting including Dangote, Promasidor, members of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Shippers Association of Lagos State, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), all threw their weight behind the Council to lead the protest.