SAHCOL, NAHCO Waive Demurrage As Striking Freight Forwarders Resume Work at Lagos Airport
By DAPO OLAWUNI
After weeks of strike and grounding cargo evacuation activities at the Muritala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, freight forwarding associations have directed their members to resume back operations since Monday 8th of May 2023.
DAILY TREND in an executive chat with Airport Chapter Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Bamgbala Adewusi on Thursday said that the aviation handling companies; NAHCO and SAHCOL have waived demurrage on cargoes for the two weeks the strike action lasted.
According to him, the waiver was secured with the intervention of the Customs Area Controller at the MMIA Command, the Commissioner of Police and the Department of State Security (DSS).
Recall that the various freight forwarding associations at the Lagos airport had directed their members to suspend cargo evacuation following an astronomical increment in handling charges by NAHCO and SAHCOL by 100%.
Prince Adewusi however said the freight forwarders had to change their stance due to the urgency usually attached to airfreight cargoes. He also said that the handling companies have brought down to the increment to 75% while negotiations for further cutdown is ongoing.
“We are to make sure that we protect the consumers, truly the increased tariff would be paid by the importers, but if you look at the freight charges here at the airport, it is more than times ten of what is being paid at the seaport.
“When we have it like that, to see any additional increment would have negative effect on the importer and the consumer.
“A bad aspect of it is that, both the cargoes from airport and seaport are all going to the same market, how are the importers from the airport going to sell their market? This was why we were appealing to NAHCO and SAHCOL to see to it and help us.
“We have been on it for sometime now, going back and forth with the negotiations. But, on Monday this week, we all agree to go back to work while amendments and negotiations are going on underground.
“The charges was brought down to 75% and people are still complaining, and we cannot continue to allow cargo to be lying down at the tarmac or terminals, every cargo passing through the airport have a lot of urgency attached, this is why we have make sure the cargoes are cleared on time.
“We appealed to our members to start working with the 75% increment and we have started working since Monday.
“With the support of our Customs Area Controller and other stakeholders like Commissioner of Police and DSS, the demurrage was waived and we all agreed to work while we continue to appeal to the handling companies to see what they can do to assist us, so dialogue is still ongoing.
“Everything that happened at the airport is an internal crisis, the freight forwarders have been together with NAHCO and SAHCOL for a very long time, we have complaints in terms of lack of equipment, we have communicated to them and they have promised to improve on it” Prince Adewusi stated