Obom Anne (NAGAFF)
They should return to what it used to be and meet with stakeholders.
There should be human phase and everybody will be carried along. Before now, =N=600 was charged for 40ft containers and =N=300 for 20ft containers, but now 40ft goes for =N=12,000 and 20ft goes for =N=6,000.
The issue of detention charges, handling charges and transfer charges should be wiped off.
Mazi Joseph Anabaraonye (Registrar, FFAN)
Port charges are important but no body is saying he won’t pay for services which the terminal operators are rendering. We want value for money, especially when there are so many charges.
The charges make your initial budget as a freight forwarder irregular and going back to your importer, in most cases makes you to lose your reputation or makes your importer to think that you are fraudulent.
The fight against port charges is not just for freight forwarders but the whole nation. Government should see to it because people rely on deregulation and it doesn’t mean we are out of regulations.
Government should pass the National Transport Commission Bill to bring the totality of transport charges under control. The government should bring the concessionaires under control; their contracts should be looked into for us to know who is really in charge. If the terminal operators and shipping companies cannot be controlled then port reforms should be reviewed.
Francis Akadiri (Clearing Agent)
The government should interfere in the situation by regulating the shipping companies and terminal operators; the money which importers use for businesses are tied down with shipping companies because of refund. It’s only when the importers have money that they can do business and also go into the ports to clear their goods through their clearing agents. But, when these shipping companies and terminal operators try to scare you away by collecting so much from you as port charges, then where are we going to?
Banks are not helping matters either, they connive with shipping companies which are the main cause of this port charges by holding down the refunds of importers.
Government should regulate the shipping companies and terminal operators on the rate at which they charge; if these things are not regulated, then there can’t be trade facilitation in Nigeria.
Oluyemi Babawale (Ports & Cargo Handling Coy)
The government should call all the parties affected to a round table meeting where lasting solution can be fashioned out. The government should understudy the port administration of countries like Singapore, Netherlands and so on. These countries have the world’s busiest ports and they are functioning efficiently.
The government should also put the right people in place. This is very important as the quality of people who are put in strategic positions in the maritime industry will determine the quality of decisions that will be taken.
Yusuf Adekanmbi (Clearing Agent)
Government should know that every arbitrary charges come back to the masses directly or indirectly, so one way or the other the double charges should be eradicated and multiple agencies should be wiped- off as well, because they are also part of the cause of the port charges. Some thing should be done now.
Elizabeth Babarinde (Comm. Manager ENL)
Considering the overall issues on port charges, terminal operators are giving out waivers so as to encourage clearing agents and importers to come and clear their goods at the ports.
The only aspect that I will say we charge here at ENL is on rent, NPA does not reduce charges, they don’t want to hear the truth, when issues of these charges are raised at meetings, they tend to say it’s because I am no longer working with NPA, they collect dues from shipping companies on stevedoring and also from terminal operators as well.
Clearing agents are lamenting because the situation of the country is not encouraging at all, and it delays the clearing process at the ports. The terminals in the ports are meant to be transit areas; a cargo is not meant to spend up to 40 days in the ports before it is cleared but the economic problems are not helping matters.
Banks cannot even help, shares are no longer encouraging, so you can’t even use your shares certificate as collateral to get a loan at the banks because they won’t even accept it,
If the situation of the economy is addressed, issues like this will be sorted out in no time by the government. So, they should meet with bodies involved to sort it out.
Oladipo Bolade (PRO, ANLCA)
Its high time, an appropriate government organ is saddled with the responsibility of controlling the activities of terminal operators and shipping companies, because they sit in their offices and do things on their own and forcing it on people like us and our importers. They leave us without a choice, which I believe has resulted to our being pushed to the wall, necessitating our decision to the withdrawal our services.
Government should regulating them (shipping company and terminal operators) so that things can come back to normal in Nigerian ports as soon as possible.
Francis Onyeka (Clearing Agent)
Government should prevail on shipping companies and prevail on them to reduce their charges, the fees requested for by terminal operators and shipping companies are exorbitant and too much to bear. Even with this, you will still be disturbed by the various un-necessary security operatives in the port, it is unnerving.
Government should stop all these irrelevant agencies from operating in the ports and it should also see to the roads leading to the ports, the roads are all in bad shape and this has caused many deaths; these are the things that people are clamouring for.
Nze Ewelike (freight forwarder)
The government should put together a regulatory body that will be supervising the activities of these shipping companies, terminal operators and even agents. It is because there is no regulation in place- that is why shipping companies can decide to collect unnecessary charges which is unobtainable anywhere in the world. If there had been a regulatory body for the agents, there would not have been any strike action over these charges, they will have channelled their grievances through that means, what agents have is an association and that might not be able do the job, I think government should intervene in the issue and correct it.