By DAPO OLAWUNI
Importers and clearing agents have threatened to stop shipping consignments into Nigeria through MSC Shipping Line over allegations of container deposit scams allegedly being perpetuated by officials of the company in Nigeria.
MSC Shipping, allegedly, collects container deposits from freight forwarders and license customs agents acting on behalf of the importers, but they fail to refund the money after the container has been returned.
The company collects deposits ranging from N200,000 to N400,000 on 20foot container and 40foot containers respectively.
Speaking on the anomalies of container refunds, a chieftain of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Elder Ugochukwu Nnadi said the freight forwarders are now sensitising their importers to stop shipping through MSC Shipping.
He said that all shipments are now going to be done through Grimaldi Shipping, even as he advised Grimaldi Shipping, owners of PTML Terminal to start expanding its terminal in anticipation of influx of cargoes.
According to Nnadi, the container deposits ought to be paid back into the accounts from where it was issued.
“The shipping company believes that their agreement is between themselves and the importer, but unfortunately you cannot deliver container to the importer without an agent”
“If you can trust an agent with a container worth hundreds of millions, why is it difficult to pay back his N200,000 or N400,000 maximum?
“Grimaldi Shipping should start expanding their facilities because we have started telling our importers abroad to stop using MSC Shipping, and they should start using Grimaldi Shipping”
“The only challenge is that Grimaldi Shipping said that in Europe they dont tha empty containers, meanwhile a lot of empty containers are lying about in Nigeria, let them transfer them back”
“Very soon, MSC Shipping would fold up their business in Nigeria because we are diverting all out cargoes to Grimaldi Shipping which would start prospering” he said
Also speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS, Treasurer of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Mr Adebowale Adebare said there has been rising petition from clearing agents against MSC Shipping over their failure to refund container deposits.
He alleged that MSC Shipping was holding on to container deposits for up to one year and six months without paying back to the owners.
He also alleged that staff of the company were trading with this money which belongs to Nigerian clearing agents.
“The challenge we are having with MSC Shipping is payment of refund on container deposits.
They are owing freight forwarders refunds for more than one year without payment”
“Some people came to complain at our secretariat last week that they have applied for their refund since November 2020 and up till now the money has not been paid”
“We are hearing information that there is an Igbo guy in MSC in charge of the container refund, he is the one trading with the peoples money. Now, we are planning on how to take it up with them”
“You cannot force people to pay container deposit and hold it for six months or one year, and be trading with it. If that money is placed in a fixed account, the gains would have been realised” he said
Adebowale said container refunds should be made directly to the agents because it has been billed as part of their professional fees.
According to him “It is only major importers, for example the manufacturers and multinational companies that pay deposits by themselves, however, majority of the other containers, especially vehicles, it is the agent that pays the deposit, they charge it alongside their professional charges”