Shippers Council summons Shipping Coys over plan to introduce ports congestion surcharge



The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Thursday summoned multinational shipping agencies over their plans to introduce ports congestion surcharge on every container coming into the Lagos ports.

CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Company had sent notices to importers and freight forwarders informing them of their decision to introduce $400 and $425 US Dollars ports congestion surcharge per container with effect from October 15 and 18 respectively.
But the NSC which had earlier described the planned surcharge as illegal in a statement signed by the Director, Special Duties, Mr Ignatius Nweke, said the shipping companies were to meet with the Council on the issue Monday, October 15, the same date the surcharge is expected to take effect according to the notice by CMA CGM.
Nweke said that the meeting was in line with Council’s statutory function of regulating tariffs, rates, charges and other related economic services at the Nigerian Ports.
He said that the meeting would afford the Council an opportunity to examine the contentious issue which according the ports economic regulator would add to the costs of doing business at the ports.
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello had in a chat granted one of the national dailies described the container surcharge as illegal.
Bello said “There is no such charge. There is nothing like that and if there is an intention to do that, it is null and void. Until they have negotiated with the Nigerian Shippers Council and until Nigerian Shippers Council gives them the go ahead it will be illegal.”
Members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Wednesday said they are battle-ready for all multinational shipping lines who have issued notices to introduce congestion surcharges of $400 and $425 per container at the nation’s ports.
President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche while condemning the action of the two shipping companies said members have been put on alert to shun the Bill of Lading of the multinational shipping companies involved should they insist on collecting ports congestion surcharges.
“We shall put a caveat on the Bill of Lading of any shipping company collecting congestion surcharge. We will ask our members not to accept Bill of Lading in respect of the two shipping companies”, he said.
The reason given by the shipping companies was to cover for the congestion and delay being suffered at the ports.
But Uche said the plan of the shipping companies was simply to provoke the government and indeed the Nigerian shippers and see what they can do.
He said that it was a challenge for the federal government to take up the issue and stop them from enforcing the planned surcharge.
Describing the congestion surcharge as laughable, Uche said the shipping companies have been taking Nigeria for granted by acting with impunity.
He argued that there is no part of the world that a shipping line will just wake up and slam shippers with surcharge.
Uche said the current action of the shipping companies was among the reasons why freight forwarders have been in the forefront to call for inclusion in the Committee that is reviewing the port congestion agreement.
He said it was important to know the details of the agreement reached between ports service providers and the NPA to be able to challenge anything that is illegal by any of the parties.
The NAGAFF President commended the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) for acting on time by describing the congestion surcharges as illegal.
He said that left alone, the shipping lines was ready to impose all types of charges against shippers.
Shipping Day