The Associated Port Marine Development Company has denied allegations of arbitrary charges and charging in foreign currency levelled against it by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
The council had earlier closed the company’s terminal over issues of non-compliance with regulatory directives and other arbitrary charges.
A press release signed by APMDC Group Head, Human Resources and Public Affairs, Mr Olise-Emeka Nwachukwu, on Thursday said its charges were not arbitrary, with its charge structure determined by the high cost of delivering containers.
The statement read, “APMDC charges structure is determined by the high cost of delivering groupage containers from discharge ports or off docks to its Bonded Terminal/Warehouse.
“Transport Adjustment Factor-TAF, being a bill back costs, is one example of excessive costs of delivering our groupage containers to our bonded warehouse/terminal. APMDC is an experienced Nigerian-Global Shipping/Logistics player with over 16 years of extensive trading knowledge in the Nigerian maritime sector.”
“Apart from providing employment to Nigerians, the taxes our industry players pay to local, state and federal governments are revenue channels for the Nigerian economy going from billions to trillions of naira generated yearly via customs import duties/taxes and levies.
“We are major economic contributors; therefore, we should be applauded instead of being maligned.
“APMDC makes bold to say that we are contributors to the over one trillion-naira revenue declared recently by Customs for the first half of the year and cannot be tagged as economic saboteurs.”
He claimed that NSC’s action was sub-judice as the matter was currently pending at an appellate court.
On the company charging in foreign currency, Nwachukwu said the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2015 grouped their services among those eligible to charge in foreign currency.
He said, “Regarding transshipment port dues, other charges collection in forex, and NSC’s allegations of financial infractions, there has never been any infraction, as the said charges collected were not for local services rendered.
“Transshipment operations and its associated costs do not occur at a destination port of Lagos but at a ‘Mid Transit Port’ in the course of the container’s journey between load and discharge ports.
‘Transshipment port dues define and make clear the nature of transaction for those who understand the international shipping business dynamics.
“Besides, CBN, as the economic regulator of the country, has exempted operators in the maritime and aviation sector where APMDC plays, to make and receive payments in foreign currencies.
“The same circular has been reaffirmed recently as still extant by CBN; hence APMDC has not committed any infractions as alleged.”