The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for suspending multinational shipping company, Maersk Line as well as three others over their failure to secure holding bays.
The NPA had at the weekend announced a ten-day suspension of the services of four shipping companies; Maersk Line, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal. The suspension took effect from Saturday July 14, 2018.
But speaking with Shipping Position Daily at the weekend, Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam said that the suspension was long overdue, even as he charged the NPA boss, Hadiza Bala Usman to also address the access card fraud being perpetrated allegedly by Grimaldi Shipping and PTML terminals.
He said that the nine days strike embarked upon and called off last week by truck drivers has led to huge economic waste.
While reacting to the ten days suspension of the shipping companies, Aniebonam said "The truth of the matter is that we shouldn't have even allowed them to reach this level before it now becomes an issue? the earlier we keep on trying to enforce regulation, the better for all of us. look at the economic waste, for the five days of strike, look at the amount of money we have lost because somebody refused to obey the law and we are just watching"
"This is a bold step, but i believe that there are more that she (Hadiza) has to do, up till now the access control at PTML has not been looked into, by the time agents go on rampage there now, they will start running up and down, severally, the matter has been raised, the NPA and the Shippers Council have been informed and the fraud is still ongoing"
"If you look at section 31 of the customs law and dwell time of cargo and Uncleared Cargo List, cargoes are still kept in the port. if the cargoes are not removed within thirty one days time frame, the goods should be said to be warehoused at the port and therefor could only attract rent other than demurrage, but here nobody is talking right thing done"
"if congestion will come in the cause of the 10 days suspension and we get the right thing done, it is better. it should not end with just Maersk Line, it should also be enforced on any other shipping company who is not in line with regulation and compliance to law. the MD has raised the bar and we expect her to do more, there are other areas she needs to touch" Aniebonam stated.
Also speaking with Shipping Position Daily, National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA, Joe Sanni lauded NPA saying that Maersk Line is very disobedient and they are the reason why other shipping companies were violating regulations of the government.
He urged Maersk Line to make use of other bonded terminals lying fallow around Lagos in other to decongest the port.
"If Maersk line had taken the lead, we would have cause to force other people to comply. we have told them that holding bays are all over the place, and apart from that, the private bonded terminals are lying fallow, they should make use of them, but Maersk line does not want to pay handling charges and storage charges and also, they don’t want to pay for moving the empty containers back to the port"
"We advised them when we met with them yesterday to direct containers to empty holding bays. apart from the international embarrassment it would cost them, people are not likely to patronise them again because they are not compliant with the country's directives,it would lead to congestion"
"They prefer to leave the container on the road and charge demurrage on it because it has not entered the port the shipping companies are hand in gloves with the truck drivers, some of the truck drivers, instead of going to drop containers at holding bays, they come directly to the port, but when the issue become overbearing in terms of costs they now started going on strike, who are deceiving"
The suspension of the four shipping companies follows NPA's checks, which revealed that the four companies have failed to fully comply with the directive to acquire and operate holding bays as they have either failed to utilise their holding bays at all or do not have adequate capacity to handle the volume of containers that they deal with.