The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has flagged-off a campaign aimed at contributing to the revenue drive of Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service through transfer of overtime cargo to Ikorodu Terminal.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily at the port about the initiative, the Ikorodu chapter chairman of NAGAFF; Mr Obinna Okafor noted that Lagos ports are currently filled with overtime containers, even as he noted that the Nigeria Customs Service is unable to collect the revenue that is accruable on the containers.
He noted that rather than Customs collecting revenue on the overtime cargoes by moving them to Ikorodu terminal, it is the shipping companies that are carting away billions of Naira through demurrage collection.
He argued that overtime cargo constitutionally belongs to government and controlled by the Nigeria Customs Service, not the shipping company or the terminal operators.
Okafor told our correspondent that in view of this, NAGAFF deemed it fit to commence the campaign with the support of the Nigeria Customs Service knowing that this would benefit the government in terms of international trade sustainability, revenue drive, port decongestion, maximization of the Nigeria Customs Ikorodu facilities.
The NAGAFF Chairman appealed to the Nigeria Customs Service to ensure that all overtime containers which the consignees are ready to take delivery of, through their respective freight forwarders should be expressly transferred to Nigeria Customs warehouse in lkorodu.
He said "Customs are in charge of overtime cargo movement, they have the political backing to control anything called overtime cargo, since we have all these overtime cargoes congesting the port and making normal clearing difficult, the consignees cannot take the delivery of their cargoes considering the demurrage, the shipping companies are not ready to come down, I have been opportuned trying to help to some people to get demurrage waiver from these shipping companies but believe you me , they did not honour the request, the highest they can give you is ten percent"
"Consignments should be taken to government warehouse at Ikorodu to allow consignees who are ready to pay government duty take their delivery, then, any token they can pay to the shipping companies or NPA should also be paid. But because of the billions shipping companies were making, they don't want to follow the due process"
Okafor stressed that Customs are the owners of overtime cargoes, and as such, they do not need NPA approval because NPA has already concessioned the port.
He expressed confidence that the campaign would yield a positive result and facilitate transfer of overtime cargoes.
"The Ikorodu terminal would be well utilized, if you go there now, the Customs are just there seating down, nothing is happening", he said.