Story By Roland Ekama.
A new charge, "Port Additional Destination" (PAD), has been imposed on importers by shipping companies in Nigeria even as the approval of the Nigerian Shippers Council is yet to be obtained.
The payment of the new freight charges by importers, Business and Maritime West Africa gathered commenced on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.
According to a shipping document obtained exclusively in Lagos on Thursday, a 20 ft container attracts a charge of N38,000 while that of a 40 ft container is N76,000. Already, CMA CGM Shipping Nigeria Limited, one of the major shipping agencies, has began collecting the PAD charge from users of their services.
Speaking on the development, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mickey Excellency Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Abdulazeez Babatunde, accused the Nigerian Shippers Council of negligence of its statutory duties, saying that as the regulator of port services, it ought to be monitoring the activities of the shipping companies.
Babatunde, a freight forwarder and stalwart of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said importers were been forced to pay the arbitrarily charges without intervention by the government.
"In the past three weeks, shipping lines and agencies have been imposing arbitrary and illegal charges on importers, because of negligence and lack of monitoring by Shippers Council.
"The Council is an agency of the government that gets heavy financial subvention to protect the interest of importers and exporters, but right under the Council's watch, the shipping companies are arbitrarily and imperiously imposing illegal charges on importers, without a word from the council," he said.
Asked about the position of ANLCA charges, Babatunde said the association would engage relevant bodies on how to address the issue, stressing that the illegal imposition must be challenged.
Attempt by Business and Maritime West Africa to get Shippers Council position on the development failed as its Deputy Director, Public Relations, Ignatius Nweke, did not respond to a message sent to his phone at the time of filing this report.