Home Maritime Digest Shippers’ Council leads protest against shipping lines for Peak season surcharge

Shippers’ Council leads protest against shipping lines for Peak season surcharge

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The backing of shippers and clearing agents has been recently sorted by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) with respect to the protest of the planned imposition of new peak season surcharge (PSS) on Nigeria bound-cargoes by multinational shipping lines.

The 2020 peak period charges of between $1,000 and $1,500 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) by the line represent more than 400 percent increase from the previous $200 freight charge per TEU.
Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello, said the council has written a protest letter to the lines demanding the withdrawal of the surcharge. He also said that NSC has written to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, and urged him to discuss this issue with both the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Executive Secretary revealed all these on Wednesday during a meeting with members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).

“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.

“Nigeria is not adverse to changes in pricing, said that international shipping lines used to impose PSS in the tune of $150 to $200 per container. The charges were not negotiated with the Nigerian government before imposition, which is one of the principles of fair international trade.”

“The new surcharge, which is as much as $1,400 spike, has the ability to cripple a fragile economy like Nigeria. It is not transparent, not negotiated when Nigerian ports are 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.

“If the new surcharge are 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,” he added.

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, expressed disappointment about the charges, saying that it might result to more cargoes being abandoned at the ports.
Usman, who was represented by NPA’s General Manager, Tariff and Billings, Abubakar Garba Umar, said, “If the importers are charged so high and they abandoned them in the port, NPA will lose revenue and it would reduce efficiency and turn around of ships to Nigerian port.”

In any case, all the groups represented at the meeting including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Shippers Association of Lagos State, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), all promised to join the NSC protest.