Shippers Blame NSC For High Port Charges

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Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State (left), presenting a souvenir to the World Bank’s Task Team Leader, Rural Access and Agriculture Marketing Project (RAAMP), Mr Olatunji Ahmed, during a visit to the Governor in Ilorin, recently.

Worried by the frequent accusation and tongue lashing by port users over the lingering high port destination charges, shippers seem to be shifting blames to the Nigeria shippers Council (NSC)
Although the concession agreement between the Federal Government and the terminal operators which has continued to remain top secret to Nigerians may have put the terminal operators, shipping  lines at a dilemma, as to disclosing the factors responsible for continued high charges.
Speaking with our correspondent in Lagos recently,  on the development, the Managing Director and CEO of Mickey Excellency Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Abdulazeez Babatunde said the Nigerian shipper’s Council (NSC) has failed in its statutory responsibility as an apex regulatory body to protect the maritime operators from arbitrary charges from shipping lines and terminal operators. According to the former chairman, ANLCA Electoral Committee, shippers are being coerced into paying arbitrary charges without government intervention.
Babatunde a customs broker said that in the last two months, shipping lines have been collecting additional destination charges from shippers without due process. The charges according to a document made available to our correspondent dated October 10th, 2017 revealed that CMA, CGM, Shipping Nigeria limited, now charges N 38,000.00 for a  20 feet container and N 76,000.00 for a  40 feet container as destination fees, hence making it inevitable for the shippers to increase their charges to the end users.
Babatunde said the Shipper’s council as a regulator has not lived up to its expected roles, despites the Federal Government, approval mandating the council as port economic regulator, adding that shippers council can be best described as a toothless bull dog that can not bite.
At every stakeholders forum, the terminal operators and shipping lines have always been scolded and accused of high charges with clamours on the NSC and NIMASA as the supervisor aswell as regulatory agencies to prevail on the terminal operators and shipping companies to reduce their charges.
Disappointedly, the NSC has not been able to live up to its expected roles and the clamours continues, while stakeholders now view the port reform exercise, especially with the concession regime twenty years after as a bad and unfortunate, economic formular although the reverse is the case in some other countries practicing similar regime, notable among them are Colombia and Agentina where concession had led to over 200 percent to reduction in cost and tariff, according to research.
Our correspondent, efforts to reach out to the Director of Special Duty and Public Affairs, Chief Ignatius Nweke was unsuccessful as his mobile phone were not going through as at the time of filling this report, although a senior officer in the Public Relations Department who do not want his name in print confirmed the development, saying that the council is making every thing  possible to stop the shipping lines to revert to status quo.
In his words, ‘the charges are not new, it has been introduced two months back, and the freight forwarder delayed in protesting the increase, we have heard about  it and steps already taken to stop the collection.