Shippers Council To Shut Denca Bonded Terminal for Obtaining N42Million Illegally From Shippers

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By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Nigerian Shippers Council has threatened to shut down premises of Denca Bonded Terminal if it fails to return about N40Million illegal charges obtained under the guise of transfer and storage charges from Nigerian shippers and freight forwarders.

Executive Secretary of the Council, Barr Hassan Bello stated this yesterday during an on-the-spot assessment of Denca Terminal and Kachicares Bonded Terminal, both located within Amuwo-Odofin Lagos.

Bello condemned the indiscriminate siting of bonded terminals and issuing of approvals by the Nigeria Customs Service, saying that henceforth, the Council would engage customs to ensure that Shippers Council is consulted before bonded terminals are licensed.

According to him, the Council in July issued a circular, directing all seaport terminals and bonded terminals to stop charging shippers for transfer of cargoes from Apapa to bonded terminals. He said some of the bonded terminals were recalcitrant and were still collecting the money.

Presently, Denca Bonded Terminal has N42million to refund to importers while Kachicares Terminal owes N3Million.

Bello said “Our circular which we issued in July 2020 would suffice for this exercise, there should be no transfer charges, if goods are stemmed from the seaport terminals, those who stemmed the goods are responsible for whatever cost, not the shipper, so between the seaport terminals and the bonded terminals, there must be an SOP or a memorandum of understanding, I think what has been happening so far is informal arrangements, we cannot afford to operate on informal arrangements”

“The Shipper cannot pay for what is not his responsibility, he has already nominated in the bill of laden where his consignments should be taken to, and transferring it to another terminal is the business of the terminal he nominated”

“Nigerian Shippers Council believes in consultation, but if we found out that for whatever reason, the seaport terminals or the bonded terminal is charging the bills we have abolished, then we would be left with no option that to ensure that we seal off premises of such recalcitrant operators who have defied genuine orders from the council” he said

Bello also disclosed that the Nigerian Shippers Council is now posting its staff to all terminals to monitor and enforce efficiency.

After taking a tour of the two terminals, he gave a verdict, saying that “Some of the bonded terminals are not properly situated, there are no access to the terminals, the whole environment is not looking nice, it is also our duty to work with the Nigerian Customs that licensed them to ensure that whenever a terminal is going to be licensed, its location and geographical availability and suitability must be taken into consideration”

“We are going to talk with the customs to see that we are consulted when these terminals are being licensed”

In terms of equipment, he said some of the terminal have good arrangements but that the Council is pushing for them to meet international standards.

Addressing management of Denca Terminal, Bello said “The circular issued in July prohibited terminals from levelling charges on storage or transfer, especially when the consignee have not appointed the terminal as port of destination ”

“We have been to other terminal we saw some level of compliance, but your terminal unfortunately is still levelling charges on storage and transfer, and for now, about N42million which belongs to shippers from the various complaints have not been refunded”

“We are also concerned with your operational efficiency, access to your terminal, the traffic situation and many other operations are under scrutiny. The council wants timely evacuation of cargoes and efficiency in service delivery”

Responding, Mr Tony Asiadiachi, General Manager, Denca Bonded Terminal blamed APM Terminals for the storage and transfer charges which the Denca Terminal was charging importers.

According to him, Denca Terminal had to pay hundreds of millions to APMT and inherit all storage on the containers before they are allowed to be moved to Denca Terminal.

He explained that Denca Bonded Terminal in turn, transfer all these charges on the importer.

“We started charging the shippers on instructions from the terminal operators”

“Every container we have taken here so far have Apapa Bill of Laden, APMT considers some terminals to be under Apapa and they said they would stem the containers to us, before they stem the containers, they give us bills, some of them carry storage, and we must pay these storage before we carry the containers, and we in turn pass it to customers, the customers started complaining”

“To handle some of these cargoes, it costs us millions of Naira, we took these money from the bank as loan in order for us to take these containers” he said

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