…Only 2 Shipping Companies in Nigeria Do Online Transactions
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Following the refusal of terminal operators and shipping companies to honor a directive from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) that demurrage and storage charges should be waved for twenty one days in order to cushion the effect of Coronavirus, clearing agents have been urged to keep receipts of all payments in order to claim back their monies after the lockdown.
A chieftain of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Comrade Ayokunle Sulaiman confirmed to DAILY TREND NEWS that the association has told its members to compile receipt of all payments to shipping companies and terminal operators at this time.
Recall that the National Secretary of ANLCA, Mr. Babatunde Mukhaila had said recently at a press briefing that if shipping companies and terminal operators refuse to abide by the NPA directive, ANLCA would drag them to court.
He said the association would test the power of NPA to regulate or give directives to concessionares in the port.
“We are going to compile all the money our members have paid and we would fight for it, this would be the first time we are going this route, enough is enough with all collaborations that does not yield any fruit” Mukhaila had said
Speaking with our correspondent, Comrade Sulaiman who is the Public Relations Officer of PTML Terminal lamented that the 21 days waiver declared by the NPA is yet to be honoured by shipping companies and terminal operators.
“What the Association is trying to do now is that, we know how our job is, demurrage is being incurred per second, we cannot continue to wait on probability of whether they would waive it or not”
“What the Association is saying now is that agents should submit their evidence of payment for refund. For some of us that have made payments, we have been putting the receipts together, at the end of the day, we would see how far the Association can go” he said
Comrade Sulaiman however said that some agents have decided not to pay the demurrage and storage because even the operations at the port is still skeletal for now.
“You cannot have a direct access to the operators, and it is not all of them that are digital, you cannot book online for your containers to be examined, yet they are charging demurrage”
“Their staff (terminal operators) also have difficulty in accessing the office because some of them come with public buses”
He lamented that only two shipping companies at Nigerian ports are actually digitalised for online transactions.
“On the shipping companies, MSC is trying their best,Maersk Line has been on this for a long time”
“The COVID-19 has exposed all of them, let’s just hope they would be able to learn from this, but the irony is that as they continue to learn, we continue to bear the brunt with the importer, the more they delay, the better for them”
“Less than 10% of the banks are working right now, and there are shipping companies that if you dont go to the bank, you cannot make payments, example is COSCO Shipping, Ocean Network and so on” he said