The Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL) yesterday cautioned terminal operators and shipping lines against increase in charges and rates in the country. SAL President, Rev. Jonathan Nicole, gave the warning in a statement in Lagos.
Nicole noted that shippers were not against the increase but against violations of regulations as laid down by the federal government through the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
He reminded the operators of a subsisting legal issue between terminal operators and shipping lines in Nigeria on arbitrary charges awaiting final determination at the Supreme Court.
Nicole added that the legal issues were instigated in 2014 by the terminal operators and the shipping lines, respectively. He stressed that it was only right for all to maintain public peace as it related to these issues.
“The announcement of some terminal operators, specifically PTML and FIVE STARS Terminals and some shipping companies to increase rates and charges in Nigeria is indeed a wake-up call.
“Some freight forwarders support of the terminal operators is amazing, including the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria.
“Also, shippers are not against increase of rates and charges and the NSC will not refuse genuine increase of rates and charges,” he said.
Nicole noted that the NSC was empowered to discuss and agree on new rates and charges to be introduced to the shippers who would eventually pay the bills.
He said it was painful that shippers had not enjoyed the type of business friendliness in this sector since the introduction of the Port Concession Agreement of 2006.
According to him, it was stipulated that stakeholders will meet and agree to any increase in local rates and charges before implementing such.
Nicole disclosed that the shippers association in Lagos state had not received any notification in writing by the affected terminal operators of any increase.
“We are discussing with the NSC on this issue and the Peak Season Surcharge which again will attract freight increases between June and end of September and this should give us more concern.
“We believe this matter can be resolved sooner or later by the port economic regulator for the interest and benefit of all,” he said.