The National President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike has raised an alarm that terminal operators and shipping companies were demanding demurrage charges from agents as a result of public holidays given last weekend by the federal government to celebrate Sallah.
Nwabunike in an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND NEWS in his secretariat on Wednesday also alleged that terminal operators collect demurrages from clearing agents for weekend operations despite the fact that they are not available for weekend operations.
He alleged that 24 hours port operations as being propagated by the federal government and the Nigeria Customs Service is a mirage, adding that the terminal operators and other agencies are never available for 24 hours operation.
The number one Custom broker also highlighted insecurity as the major bane of efficient port operation in Nigeria, urging the federal government to look into port security.
He told our correspondent yesterday that since returning from the eid el kabir celebration, his members has written a lot of protest letters to his office, demanding action against the demurrage collection.
Nwabunike however said that the association is already engaging the terminal operators and shipping companies on how to resolve the matter.
“Shipping companies, terminal operators are charging demurrages on the public holidays and weekends.
There are charges levied on those who could not load their cargoes on Thursday and Friday, they are being given a new debit note which is extended for the next two weeks”
“My members have been agitating that they should not be made to pay these charges. So many letters came to my table this morning on this issue of terminal operators and shipping companies charging on public holidays and weekends, I think it all needs to stop”
“All the government agencies at the port are doing as they please, nobody wants to listen to each other, I don’t even know who is overseeing the functions of all the government agencies at the port. So our members are actually agitating and we really need to seat down with heads of these parastatals to discuss these issues because it is getting out of hand”
“Another issue is that most of them are just duplicating issues already assigned”
“Where the terminal operators available on the public holidays on Monday and Tuesday? So why should they charge? They were not around. The licensed customs agent would like to take his consignment even on Sunday if the terminal operators open on Sundays”
“The port is supposed to work 24 hours but it is not working, I cannot go to the port by12 midnight to take my cargo today because of the security lapses.The federal government should look into how to address these security lapses too”
“The roads are not also good enough to move our consignments, so these are the impediments where we are having the challenges”
“Terminal operators must stop public holidays and weekend charges because they are not rendering the services.We are putting a serious letter across to their heads of departments and units because it is a very serious issue we have to tackle, otherwise, we would go to the appropriate power quarters to address it”