Shipping Charges: Shippers’ Council Floors Terminal Operators, as Court Strikes Out Case

Executive Secretary NSC, Hassan Bello
 The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Monday won the second round of the case on shipping charges as the Federal High Court in Lagos struck out the case brought against it by the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN).

The terminal operators had last week Monday  gone to court to stop the Council from  reversing  the Progressive Storage Charge they had introduced unilaterally some years ago to the pre-May 2009 rates which were approved by the Transport Ministry.
The case which came up Monday was struck out against the terminal operators for non-compliance with the rules of the court.
The Presiding Judge, Ibrahim Buba, said   that the parties which came by way of originating summons did not tell the court the issues   for determination.
“Since the court cannot proceed without knowing the right and interest of the parties which are inextricably tied to the question of determination, the court cannot proceed on that,” Buba said.
Lawyer to the NSC,   Mrs Funke Agbor, had   argued that the court could not proceed with the case since the issues for determination had not been explained.
It would be recalled   that the Council had last week reversed    the storage charge. It also introduced other measures   that will   reduce cost of doing business in Nigerian ports.
 The Council   had also increased the Container Free Storage Period to seven days instead of three days.
The Council also   increased Container Demurrage-free days to 10 days.
The regulator had equally directed that henceforth, container deposits must be   refunded within 10 days after the empties had been returned to the shipping companies.
 But the affected   terminal operators and shipping companies had    gone to Court to restrain the Council from implementing the order which was expected to take effect last week Monday.
However, the case brought by the Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) against the Ports Regulator   adjourned to Nov. 17 for further hearing.
Source: Shipping Day.