NPA To Sanction CMA CGM, Over Charges ..As Agents Threaten Boycott

Gerard Izuora 

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said it will sanction CMA CGM over the unilateral imposition of 400 dollars on shipments to two ports of Lagos, and any other international shipping line that may introduce arbitrary charges at ports.

In separate statements, the NPA and leadership of association of clearing agents, condemned the $400 congestion surcharge the international shipping line imposed on every container coming to TinCan Island and Apapa ports. 

CMA CGM had in an email sent to importers and clearing agents at the weekend, announced that effective October l5, 2OI8, cargoes from any part of the world on (EMA CGM ships will attract extra “USU 400 / EUR 850 per 20′ Dry and Reefer and USD 400 / EUR 350 per 40′ Dry and Reefer”.

The shipping line based its action on what it called disruption of its activities based on congestion in the two Lagos ports.

In the mail, the company explained that: “port congestion at Lagos ports, Nigeria, is currently increasing our operational costs and generating severe service disruption for several weeks.”

The mail added that: “CMA CGM will therefore implement the following Emergency Congestion Surcharge on Lagos import cargo, effective October 15th, 2018 (B/ L date) for FMC trades

The company also indicates that the surcharge is payable on categories of cargoes including dry and break bulk.

In reaction to the proposed charge, NPA, through a press statement by the Acting General-Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications,  Mr Isa Suwaid said the new charges cannot stand following the authority’s checks, which revealed that some of the shipping 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.

The NPA noted that some of the companies had also been found to import a larger number of containers than empty containers exported thereby making the country a dumping ground for empties.

“These conducts have contributed to the persistent congestion around the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Port, spreading to other parts of the Lagos metropolis where truck drivers with no immediate business at the ports now park their trucks.

“The authority will review the level of compliance to its directives and determine further actions in addition to this, the NPA will henceforth embark on a regular compliance check of the operations of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators and defaulters will be sanctioned.

The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents described the charge as an affront on the sensibility of entire Nigerians. The Deputy National President of the association, Mr Kayode Farinto, in a statement, said the arbitrary charge is a breach of affreightment contract which has been sealed before the cargos were shipped through the shipping line. 

The association vowed to resist the charge and threatened to issue global trade alert against the shipping company, calling on Nigerians importers worldwide to boycott the international shipping company if it goes ahead to implement the draconian policy. 

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