Crisis At PTML, Clearing Agents Protest Blocking Of 200 Licenses By Grimaldi Shipping

•They are ‘ghost agents’----Grimaldi Shipping

There was anxiety yesterday at the Grimaldi Shipping-owned PTML Terminal as licensed customs agents protested the company's decision to block 200 access cards belonging to licensed customs agencies. Speaking exclusively with Shipping Position Daily at the terminal yesterday, Chairman of ANLCA at PTML, Elder Oluwole Obey alleged that Grimaldi Shipping was swindling agents by collecting as high as N50,000 to register licenses for issuance of access cards instead of N10,000 as stipulated.  He also said that the access cards were blocked without any prior communication and notice to the leadership of the association. Deputy Managing Director of Grimaldi Shipping, Mr. Nitin Senan at a meeting with leadership of ANLCA however alleged that the licenses blocked were 'ghost' licenses belonging to fraudulent persons who have no records with the company or the Nigeria Customs Service. According to the ANLCA chairman, the officers appointed by Grimaldi Shipping to carry out registration of clearing agents for the card were engaging in underhand activities and have so far swindled agents to the tune of N10million. He said "two weeks ago, the agents came to our secretariat and destroyed all our properties, yesterday again, they want to burn down the secretariat, but I prevailed on them and they told us that some access cards have been blocked" "They also said that these access cards were issued to them at the rate of N50,000 instead of N10,000 per company"  Responding however, Grimaldi Shipping Deputy Managing Director; Nitin Senan, argued that the company is only collecting N10,000 from licensed companies to issue the cards with an extra fee of N2,000. According to him, the access card only gives access to seven persons on the licensed company's list.   He urged agents to present the receipt showing that they have paid as much as N50,000. "The cards that were blocked were specific, these agencies have asked us to register them for export booking, in the past when we started this process, the documentation is different, you don't need Form C30, you may not need to go to valuation unit to do this" "But when you look at all these licenses and the cards, we found out that none of the licenses have done even one export booking". He alleged that the company has only blocked 122 access cards belonging to licenses which are not also on customs list.  He said that these are the people who usually mill around the terminal without any reason.  He urged ANLCA executives not to stand for these licenses because according to him, it has a lot of risks.  He said "these guys have cleared a lot of cargoes from the port, they have no proper registration and they don't appear on our system and even on customs system". Vice Chairman of the ANLCA at Tin Can, Sunday Davies Nwarianne said that agents have so far been defrauded to the tune of about N10million. He also charged Grimaldi Shipping to fish out and prosecute the officers in charge of the registration of access cards.  The leadership of ANLCA who were on ground yesterday were however able to quash the protest before snowballing into a full-fledged mayhem.