Arbitrary Charges: Shippers’ Council Begins Move To Amend Service Providers’ Tariff

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has commenced move to amend tariff charged by service providers in Nigerian ports in order to put an end to imposition of arbitrary charges on port users.

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Speaking over the weekend, while engaging service providers in the sector to get their buy-in and to carry everybody along, the executive secretary, NSC; Mr Hassan Bello, said the engagement was necessitated by excessive increase in cost from service providers, which had led to constant introduction of different tariff nomenclatures without proper consultation with the council.

Bello, who was represented by the director, regulatory services of NSC, Ifeoma Ezedinma, said the actions of the service providers have negatively impacted on the country’s economy and the overall performance of the maritime sector.

She stressed that the engagement was necessitated by excessive increase in cost from service providers, which had led to constant introduction of different tariff nomenclatures without proper consultation with the council.

He said that the action will help to instill a culture of transparency in cost of services charged by service providers

“This will help to instill a culture of transparency in the cost of services charged by service providers and in the process of addressing the issues of arbitrary charges inherent in the industry. It will also help to keep the council abreast of the daily trends of tariffs, rates, charges and performance of service providers,” Bello said.

Stakeholders who were present at the event wanted the council to align the guidelines with the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) in order to ensure its smooth operations, even as others canvassed for the inclusion of an arbitration mechanism to ensure future business misgivings in the sector are well managed.

The council gave a two weeks’ window to stakeholders to study and come up with recommendations on implementation of new guidelines on tariff setting.

The council is responsible for the validation and publication of the guidelines in line with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Port Economic Regulations 2015 Official Gazette Vol. 102, Part 11 Section 5 Subsection B, which empowers it to provide guidelines on tariffs, rates and charges, including, setting the minimum and maximum levels of tariffs that shall be applicable in the port sector.