Over N80 million in illegal charges has been recovered from shipping companies in the first half of 2018 by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
Its Deputy Director, Compliance Monitoring, Chief Cajethan Agu, disclosed this in Lagos, saying $23,000 was recovered from COSCO Shipping alone. He noted that the said money represent the excess charges on demurrages, storage and other illegal collections slammed on consignees and port users by shipping companies and agencies. They have since been returned to their owners.
This coming as some clearing agents operating at Apapa Port on Tuesday staged a protest at the port against alleged deliberate delay of containers, constant system break down and corporate extortion by APM Terminal.
The agents drawn from their various associations were led by the chairman of Apapa Port chapter of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Ndubuisi Uzoegbo.
They shunned attempts by the Commissioner of Police, Nigerian Ports Authority, Western Ports, Uba Muhammad Kura to stop them and marched to the office of APM Terminal Apapa, where they protested against myriads of malpractices allegedly being perpetrated by the terminal and its sister shipping line, Maersk Line.
“APMT with obvious conspiracy with her fellow multinational agents, the shipping companies through their deliberate delays, have continued to extort exorbitant charges as demurrage on containers. “This is made possible only through their self-designed deliberate internet network system breakdown, perpetual denial of access into the ports and most times, APMT places all containers deliveries on hold for some flimsy excuses because they have limited holding bay,” Uzoegbo said.
“Between January and June, we have got up to N80 million. If you translate the $23,000 that COSCO paid, it’s up to N10 million and don’t forget, we carried enforcement at GAC, a shipping company, there was a refund because almost 30 containers which were held captive were released,” Agu explained, according to a Vanguard report.
“Then there is even another one again with same COSCO, the demurrage waivers and other interventions. It’s only the Company CEO that will give you the breakdown, but I know that between January and June, we got a refund amounting to more than N80 million.
“It is not only from demurrages, even storage charge and some were recovered from excessive charges that were imposed on the. They were given back to the owners, although in the case of COSCO, they sent the cheque to us and we handed over the cheque to them (the consignees). How can somebody make a complaint and you cannot trace him?
“We normally hold tripartite meeting, when you complain, we look at your case, if it is genuine, then we invite you and we invite the person that you made the complaint against,” he noted.