The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has condemned the imposition of all kinds of surcharges by multi-national shipping lines bringing cargoes into the country.
The ports economic regulator is particularly worried that most of the surcharges were imposed on Nigerian shippers contrary to the provisions of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr Hassan Bello who described the surcharges as unjustifiable said the council will take the matter up with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) to call the different shipping lines and their agents to order.
Bello explained that while some of the charges were supposed to be temporary, reduced or cancelled as allowed by UNCTAD and as the situation in the ports changes, the shipping lines have maintained a permanent imposition of the charges on helpless shippers.
He said, “Everything that happens, even if it is in Togo or Benin Republic, is attributed to have taken place in Nigeria. Even local infractions like somebody just enters the ship illegally even without weapons, it is reported as incidence of piracy. But that is not piracy; it is probably robbery incident. Piracy is total command of the ship on the high sea.”
He said the council apart from other measures locally will reach out to the GSF directly or through the African Shippers Forum (ASF) to address the issues of surcharges.
The ASF collaborates with GSF to reach out to shipping lines in different continents doing business with the West and Central African sub-region to address issues of arbitrary surcharges.
The Director, Special Duties, NSC, Mr. Tahir Idris who gave an insight into the different surcharges told newsmen that the shipping agencies often ignore to suspend the surcharges even with the knowledge that the situation which justified their imposition has changed.