Shippers’ Council overhaul downwards terminal operators tariffs

 The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Friday in Lagos, announced the downward overhaul of Progressive Storage Charges by terminal operators at the nation’s seaports.

Progressive  storage charges are fees paid by importers or agents to terminal operators for warehousing imported goods pending evacuation from ports.
According to the NSC, the reversal was in line with stakeholders’ agreement with the Federal Government in May 2009.
Mr Ignatius Nweke, Head, Public Affairs of the NSC, said that the order to reverse the tariffs would be effective from Nov. 3, 2014.
He said that the Council, in its new role as Ports Economic Regulator, was living up to its responsibility to ensure that tariffs were not increased unilaterally.
According to him, the tariff reversal was reached after due consultations with all terminal operators and other stakeholders.
 “The NSC observed that Progressive Storage Charge was reviewed unilaterally in violation of the approval given by the Minister of Transport on May 1, 2009.
“In the said approval, it was emphasised that the rates are the absolute maximum any terminal operator is allowed to charge.
“Under no circumstances shall any terminal operator charge any shipper any amount higher than the approved rates.
“In view of the above, all terminal operators are hereby ordered to revert to the rates approved by government in May 2009,” it said.
The approved tariff showed that N750 to N5, 000 are new rates for 20ft containers depending on the categorisation.
The 40ft containers attract new rates of N1,500 to N10, 000 depending on the time that container spends in the terminal.
The council in addition increased the free period for importers from three to seven days in line with international average practices.
NSC insisted also that for proper, efficient and equitable application of the Progressive Storage Charges, terminal operators must position containers for examination not later than 36 hours after any appointment.
The council in turn said that terminal operators must bear the demurrage caused by delays where a terminal operator fails to position a container for examination on scheduled date.
It said that in this regard, storage charges should not apply for the days thereafter and up to the date when the container is positioned for examination.
The terminal operators were also directed to operate an examination bay where all containers confirmed for examination could be positioned in one layer and not staked.
 “Once a consignee or a clearing agent submits necessary documents and makes a request for an invoice from the terminal operator, such invoice must be issued on the same day.
 “When a consignee or his clearing agent/transporter presents a terminal Delivery Order (TDO) to the terminal operator, the terminal operator shall locate the container without undue delay.
 If any delay occurs, storage shall not be charged for the period of such delay,” NSC said.