EXCLUSIVE: Clearing Agents Tackle Lekki Port Operators; CMA-CGM for Alleged Cargo Diversion

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By DAPO OLAWUNI

Clearing agents under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) is on collision course with French container carrier, CMA CGM for diverting consignments meant for Tin Can Island Port to the Lekki Port and as well as to Ikorodu Terminals in Lagos.

The Lekki Freeport Terminal is operated by CMA Terminals, a subsidiary of the CMA CGM Group.
CMA Terminals is also responsible for marketing, operations and maintenance of the container terminal at the Lekki deep seaport.

The ANLCA through its Shipping Committee raised an alarm that cargoes are being transferred to these places without the notice of the importer and their clearing agents.

The association is now requesting for a 50% rebate for her members, in order to allow them clear their cargoes, taking into consideration the long distance between Lekki, Ikorodu and Tin Can Port.

Chairman of the ANLCA Shipping Company, Chief Mike Okolichi in the Shipping Committee Report on CMA-CGM, confirmed that the committee’s Secretary, Alhaji Busari met with Mr Gbenga Solomon, the Customer Care Manager of CMA-CGM regarding the report of discharging of cargoes at Lekki Free Zone (LFZ) and Ikorodu Terminals without any prior notice to ANLCA.

The report sited by DAILY TREND states that “There was no prior information about this current development.

“Mr Gbenga Solomon apologised and said they have been on this for a while and it was not a sudden decision moreover the previous NECOM EXECUTIVE were in the know of this plan of action.

“He advised that we write to query this action which he will follow up with upper management for them to do the needful.

“CMA-CGM cited reason for this action was to sustain and remain in business as their competitors MSC, MAERSK, SAF MARINE have taken over Tincan and Apapa Ports respectively.

“On the other hand considering the challenge for agents being distanced accessibility and haulage logistics charges to move cargoes back; agents can request for a rebate which can be negotiated from 50% waiver on the cargoes.

“We advise the NECOM to put across to CMA-CGM the request for rebate on their charges to subsidise their charges which would be a respite relief for our colleagues and fellow agents” the report concluded

Chief Okolichi confirmed that already, clearing agents have started going to Ikorodu terminal to receive their cargoes and that some Customs officers would be transferred from Tin Can Port to Ikorodu to facilitate clearance of the cargoes whose duty must be recorded to Tin Can Customs Command.

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